Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Turnaround

Mother's Day tomorrow. UGH, what to do, what to do.......

My mother and I......
Living with my grandmother.......
WB lost his mother last fall, but we hadn’t been with her on Mother’s Day for several years while she lived with Candi in Brunswick, Georgia. Looking back on it, Helen viewed holidays such as this with much chagrin. She carried a sadness in her heart and I have to believe it had  a lot to do with her surviving her husband, her own parents and a son.

I know that she always enjoyed seeing everyone and appreciated her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, however honoring her on Mother’s Day or any other day was not something I felt she pined for. Her honor was them. Honestly, I feel much the same.

My mother, on the other hand, always sat on a tuffet awaiting the showering of gifts. I cannot remember her ever wanting to see us so much, just send the gifts. And, if you didn’t you were in the DOGHOUSE until something showed up. If you could get the gift there before the actual day, then you really needn’t bother with a call at all. This is not how we wanted it, this is how it was.

Amazing to me what shakes out. How we mother is so completely a residual effect of how we were ‘mothered’. You either mimic or reinvent. Chances are those of us born between 1960 and 1970 had stay at home mothers, then those born to 1980 forward had working moms. The dynamics surely change generation to generation.

WB’s mother was a homemaker, my mother worked. I am convinced that my mother worked strictly to get out of the house and away from the chaos. After much discussion with other family member, it is pretty clear to me that she really hadn’t planned on having any of us. Am thoroughly convinced that she viewed the three she birthed as unfortunate mistakes. The wicked stepfather made a good living and although extremely tight with the funds, he provided the essentials. Nice house, food on the table, decent transportation. I accept that my mother did all she was capable of at the time.

So, regardless of the manner in which we were ‘mothered’, why are we always looking for approval from them? How ironic then that it makes me so uncomfortable on days such as these when my own children are wringing their hands trying to figure out what to do for me. Relax, I say.

Because my own mother was so inept in the rearing of her children, my grandmother stepped in. Self-absorbed mother, very caring and giving grandmother ~ overall quite confusing except that I wished constantly things would someday change. What’s a girl to do when the mother then becomes resentful of the relationship her own daughter has with her own mother? WHOA, it is surely a hot mess.

The perfect Mother’s Day for me from my children?
  • No drama
  • Knowing that my children are safe and healthy
  • Believing that they are contributing members of society
  • Observing with pride as they carry on with a strong work ethic
  • A willingness from them to accept the things they cannot change
  • Pride in legacy and their insistence on passing our traditions on to their children
  • That they still come to me with even the smallest issues
  • Their love and forgiveness
  • Acknowledgment that although I may not have done it perfectly, I gave it hell
  • They want their children to know me and personally experience the ‘Honey” madness
  • Their acceptance that I intend to be their Mother for the rest of my life

It was only after I had escaped the compound that I witnessed the dynamics of other mothers and their children. For many years I felt resentment, but eventually that changed. A good friend once said, "You can heal from it by breaking the cycle, by being the best mother you can be."

How then can we honor mothers without recognizing the seeds they planted. Insomuch as I recognize that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, isn’t this really about our children. Without them, how would we be mothers?

I cannot call my grandmother in heaven and if I called my mother tomorrow, she would most likely hang up on me. But, I still love her.

Then it occurred to me that I should instead honor all of the other mothers in my life who stepped in and my besties because they are all GREAT mothers! But they already know how I feel because I tell them everyday, not just on a day designated to profess it.

If you are fortunate enough to have had or still enjoy your precious mother, appreciate it for the rest of us who may have been kicked to the curb. For those of us pondering about what this day brings when you just don't know quite what to do, look to your children because I am sure that you did everything you could to do it better. Rid yourself of any resentment, let go of it and appreciate yourself for the mother in you. Turn it around.

No gifts for me, please. I have enough. I have bountiful treasures. I have my children.

My name is Rhonda Brantley and my husband, Billy Ray Brantley suffers from Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia. This is the best shot we have at documenting daily living.

1 comment:

  1. I too have been kicked to the curb by my mother, my son is not speaking to me and my daughter has been begging to become a victim of child abuse all morning. Mother's Day is my least favorite holiday, and I'm going to blame MY mother for that!

    You are a fabulous mother and I love you. Happy Mother's Day!


Share |