I started reflecting on the love for a mother. There is really nothing like it. For me, it is one of the deepest loves I have experienced or can imagine, and it started from day one when I wasn’t even aware.
My first experience of loving my mom I wasn’t even aware who she was. I would just cry and she took care of the problem; she fed me, changed me, burped me or just held me. She denied herself of sleep, of things she wanted to do, of really any time to herself just to care for me…and okay, my brother. 😉 Unaware of who this person was, she brought a sense of peace, comfort and love – not for anything that I deserved, earned, or even thanked her for. She just provided what I needed. And the love affair began.
Time passed and I became more aware of this woman. I soon learned that when I smiled, she would smile back. She still provided everything I needed but wait – there was more! She cheered for me when I sat up, started to crawl, and took that first step! Oh, how I wanted to please her! And it got even better! She would play pretend with me! We would play dolls, have tea parties, read books, oh how I adored this woman! And when she would sew us matching outfits for Easter or Mother’s Day, I beamed! I loved matching this lady! I wanted to be just like her!
Then there were those awkward teenage years; wanting to have my independence yet not. Times of arguments of what to wear, of cleaning my room, of practicing piano or flute, of not allowing me to see my friends. I remember her having those tough conversations – of “the talk”, of treating friends better, of talking to her with respect. While at the time she maybe wasn’t my favorite person, I knew she was always there for me when I needed her. She was still safe but the urge of independence started to emerge.
Still my mom, still pushing independence, and finding that balance of letting me go and providing boundaries were the college years. We survived, and adulthood came. Our relationship shifted and we were now friends. I could talk to her about anything – probably more than she wanted me to! She was my role model for my faith, was always there to answer questions, just listen…or go shopping. It was a new relationship, and a good one.
When motherhood arrived for me, my world opened up once again. This was what she was going through! This was the love she felt for ME! Wow, that is a beautiful love! She was still there for me as I awkwardly maneuvered through motherhood, but filled with grace as she stood by and cheered me on. She knew much of what I was struggling with was something I needed to work out myself. But she was still there. She answered questions if I had them. She gave me relief support when I needed a breather. And I got to watch a new love grow in her as a grandmother, and now great-grandmother.
The circle of life is an interesting one. It doesn’t always unfold like you would choose. Whether it be cancer, dementia, or simply taking our mothers too soon, it can be heartbreaking. But some things never change. The love we have is still there, we are just learning a new form of love. A love where we care for them. A love that is still the love you have for your mother, but expressed in a new way; a way in where we now return that sacrificial and beautiful love that they first showed us.