Mothering and being mothered are complicated experiences. They can take you beyond any love you’ve ever known, and they can bring you to your knees with worry and misery. When people ask Rodney and me who our main teachers have been, we respond, “Our kids.”
Our reactions to our children tell us everything. When you see your sweet angel’s name come up on the phone and you answer it excitedly, and all you hear is silence—oh, no.
“Honey, are you there?” you ask.
You hear sobs, and your heart sinks lower than you could ever have imagined. Her pain must be your fault, and you need to fix it.
Or when the phone rings, and he, elated, is speaking so fast you have to say, “Slow down, Darling, and tell me what you just said.” When our children are so excited about good news that you can’t understand what they’re saying, your heart soars as if it were your own accomplishment.
Then there’s the sly smile you try to hide when your child proudly tells you something he or she has just learned that you’ve spent the last 18 years trying teach them. Someone else has explained it to them, this lifelong lesson, and they act it as if it were brand new information.
And then there’s the learning how to keep your mouth shut. Or that certain mood of your beloved child’s when there’s no point in saying anything because it will be met with sarcasm or an argument, just for the sake of it.
Yes, being a mother (or father) is all encompassing. You have empathy and compassion for your own mother because you know that you took her through the same fires.
Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on the mothering process—both the joys and sorrows. It’s a day to buy or receive flowers and chocolates, or take or be taken out for brunch. But here’s the truth: what the mothers I know want most, is time alone. The best Mother’s Day gift might be to insist that your mom go to her yoga class, or go for a walk by herself.
Mother’s Day is a day of celebration for the sacrifice and dedication mothers bring to the world. It’s also a difficult day for those of us whose mothers, or children, have passed. So let us use what yoga has taught us to sit with it all, to laugh and cry and eat chocolate, to appreciate the flowers and hug our loved ones.
Happy Mother’s Day.