Happy Mother’s day y’all. I spent mine washing all the windows and getting the screens up, followed by some weeding and trimming in the garden. David and Pete, per my request, devoted a chunk of time to cleaning out the garage. I adore getting things done. As a reward for our collective labor, David grilled steaks and potatoes; steamed beets and even squeezed limes for a well deserved but (unauthorized) margarita.
My big kids both called (Pete penned a sweet note) and I telephoned my mothers in turn. And then, as one is wont to do on such a holiday, spent some time thinking about what it means to be a mother.
For me, everything. There is nothing that is more important to me than my three children. They never cease to intrigue, surprise, occasionally confound and ultimately amaze. If I were not Jemesii, August and Peter’s mom, I would hope to be their friends.
And no, I don’t believe the two roles are interchangeable. I have never tried to be my children’s pal. I feel as if doing so would have compromised my role as a parent (somebody has to be in charge and it’s too much to expect of a child) and possibly invaded their personal space.
At any rate, the mother/child relationship has a very different dynamic than friendship, which is vulnerable to the whims of one party. By definition, you cannot initiate or maintain a friendship without mutual agreement.
The love I feel for my children is independent of any external forces. I love them each absolutely and without expectation. And, although I need to love them, I don’t need for them to love me.
Crazy talk, you might say. But not really. Just as most parents do, I desire a close relationship with my children. I am pretty sure I have one. What I don’t want is for my children to feel tethered or that they owe me anything: filial obligation is not part of my personal construct.
Jemesii, August and Peter; thank you. Being your mother is the greatest gift imaginable. As you make your place in the world, keep your hearts open. And never forget that I love you all, always.