What connects us to one another?
From the moment we are conceived and cells begin dividing we are connected to our mother’s womb by a life giving cord. When we are born we are connected to our mothers and fathers by their arms that carry us and hold us and protect us. As we grow the physical connection diminishes. We are connected then by our hearts which have the capacity to continue that bond through all space and time reaching the farthest ends of the universe. We are whole because of the love given to us by our family. It can be broken by no one and no thing. It is eternal.
There has been tremendous discussion this week in social media and beyond, about motherhood and having what it takes to be “Mom enough”. One of my favorite articles that I read can be found in its entirety here . The bulk of it is summed up in a list of wishes from the author, a mother, and to paraphrase wouldn’t do it justice so here is the list. (Again, I didn’t write this, see the link for author credits)
I hope I raise a child who says “thank you” to the bus driver when he gets off the bus, “please” to the waiter taking his order at the restaurant, and holds the elevator doors when someone’s rushing to get in.
I hope I raise a child who loses graciously and wins without bragging. I hope he learns that disappointments are fleeting and so are triumphs, and if he comes home at night to people who love him, neither one matter. Nobody is keeping score, except sometimes on Facebook.
I hope I raise a child who is kind to old people.
I hope I raise a child who realizes that life is unfair: Some people are born rich or gorgeous. Some people really are handed things that they don’t deserve. Some people luck into jobs or wealth that they don’t earn. Tough.
I hope I raise a child who gets what he wants just often enough to keep him optimistic but not enough to make him spoiled.
I hope I raise a child who knows that he’s loved and special but that he’s not the center of the universe and never, ever will be.
I hope I raise a child who will stick up for a kid who’s being bullied on the playground. I also hope I raise a child who, if he’s the one being bullied, fights back. Hard. Oh, and if he’s the bully? I hope he realizes that his mother, who once wore brown plastic glasses and read the phonebook on the school bus, will cause him more pain than a bully ever could.
I hope I raise a child who relishes life’s tiny pleasures—whether it’s a piece of music, or the color of a gorgeous flower, or Chinese takeout on a rainy Sunday night.
I hope I raise a child who is open-minded and curious about the world without being reckless.
I hope I raise a child who doesn’t need to affirm his self-worth through bigotry, snobbery, materialism, or violence.
I hope I raise a child who likes to read.
I hope I raise a child who is courageous when sick and grateful when healthy.
I hope I raise a child who begins and ends all relationships straightforwardly and honorably.
I hope I raise a child who can spot superficiality and artifice from a mile away and spends his time with people and things that feel authentic to him.
I hope I raise a child who makes quality friends and keeps them.
I hope I raise a child who realizes that his parents are flawed but loves them anyway.
And I hope that if my child turns out to be a colossal screw-up, I take it in stride. I hope I remember that he’s his own person, and there’s only so much I can do. He is not an appendage to be dangled from my breasts on the cover of a magazine, his success is not my ego’s accessory, and I am not Super Mom.
I’ve decided to print out this list and refer to it often because if I can manage even half of these things I think I will have succeeded in raising some pretty decent children. The point though, isn’t that this list applies to everyone. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all gig. And I resent that some people try to make it so. At the end of the day the best we can do is hope we’ve done well enough and reflect on our actions, hoping to do better tomorrow. And as long as the connection remains, I believe, we can say that we have. So here’s to motherhood in whatever way it applies to you. Here’s to long nights and dirty diapers. Graduations and weddings, time outs and teacher conferences, scraped knees and training bras– All the trials and joys that life as a mother brings. Here’s to mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day