Saturday, May 15, 2010

A mother on Mother's Day

My very first Mother's Day card came to me that blissful Sunday morning after my husband gave me a morning to sleep in. We spent the weekend at my parent's house for various family events and almost forgot it was a day to celebrate my own motherhood and not just my own mother, as per usual. For my whole life up until now Mother's Day was about my mother and nothing else. But what an amazing shift to share the day with her.

For the past three years I have been so focused on clawing my way to motherhood, I hadn't set my mind to what kind of mom I wanted to be. It is interesting these days to look at my own mother finally with a shared perspective. At my best, I hope to do her work justice. If I can be a mom like her, I will have reached my hopes for Mommydom. The amount of love and attention she gave me as a child and as an adult is immeasurable.

As she grows old and now in her 70s, I see how frail she is getting. I still rely on her help, her love, her support, and her wisdom even as a 38 year old. I see that she strains now to prepare meals for all of us when we visit, but forces herself to feed us as she always has done. I see how tired she is after a family event where she has organized and prepared and worried about the details. I see how tired she is taking care of my father. I see how excited she is to see Mira but that her stamina is slowing.

All this makes me quite sad and worried that as I become a mother that my own mother is waning. Her years devoted to us as kids is catching up with her. No one wants to think of that inevitable day when we lose a parent, but more and more as my parents face ailments I can't help but want to cherish every moment with them. I am torn between the child I am to my mother and the mother I am to my child. I find myself still needing to be both even though in some ways I should be graduating from my mother's care as I care for my own child.

It's hard to see my mother weakening when she is the one person I always can count on. I know that she put every cell of her body into raising us kids and I can only hope that someday when I am a little old lady Mira will feel the same way about me. The years ahead that I will devote to her will certainly drain me, but I know from my own mother that her drive remains intact. It completes your heart. I know my mother is tired these days but her love never gets tired. So I hope someday when I am a veteran of many Mother's Days my daughter will see that my tired old body still has a beating heart ripe with joy and love for her.