Ours was not a storybook relationship for many years, and it’s only been in the maturity of my own adulthood that I’ve learned to appreciate all she did for me.
The product of an unsettled and emotionally unhealthy childhood, my mother came to marriage and parenthood totally unprepared. Being abandoned as a child and growing up in an orphanage hardly qualifies as a firm foundation for loving and giving. And that’s what motherhood is all about. Loving so fiercely it-carries you through all the bad times, and knowing when and how to give your children back their lives.
My mother did all of that and more.
Not in the traditional sense, because she didn’t know how, but in her determination and courage. When her marriage fell apart and she was faced with raising two kids by herself, it was almost like history repeating itself, except she didn’t make the same choice her mother did.
My mother and her sister were put in an orphanage as young girls and didn’t see their mother again for many years. My mother kept us together as a family the best way she could, teaching us something about loyalty I overlooked for too many years.
During my childhood our home life was erratic and unpredictable at best, the makings of a best-selling novel at worst, but we survived. And through it all, she was there, trying and failing and trying again.
Now, looking back, I realize that even in her failings there was success. My sister and I are both reasonably mature, healthy adults and we didn’t get there by ourselves. Sure we carry around a little excess emotional baggage from our past, but doesn’t everybody?
Nobody is ever completely put together emotionally, and considering the odds against her so many years ago, I figure my mother did an outstanding job.
So I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, Mom. Thank you for the years, good and bad, which have made me who I am, and thank you for showing me there’s more to loving than saying the words we still too often find so hard to express.