I sit here today and I love my mother in a way I never thought possible. You see, I have always “loved” my mom, but not the way I loved others in my life. There was always a separateness, a distance about that love, an obligation to that love. But today…today I sit here after the flood gates have opened, and I am filled with a deep all encompassing love, the kind of love that I felt for the “others” I spoke of, and a kind of love that is special and only reserved for one’s mother.
When we are young, usually before the age of 7, our little minds have built an internal, subconscious map that often does not alter much as we mature. This map is based on our feelings and the things we experience as a child. For instance, you may have had a neighbor when you were 5, who is a bearded, burly man that acts scary and yells at you and everyone he sees to get off his lawn, and I may have had a neighbor with a similar look, but my neighbor is kind, and funny, and he brings my 5 year old self gifts every time he returns from a trip. It is then likely that you will have a subconscious aversion to burly, bearded men, and I will probably try to get close to them. We draw a lot of conclusions when we are children navigating the world. Many of these conclusions stay in our subconscious, and as we grow up we begin collecting evidence to support these conclusions, and then they become our beliefs. Some of these beliefs are wonderful, and some limit our lives. These beliefs help us to form our own individual, unique to us, vision the world, and we experience everything through that view, vision, and map. If two people are in the same room experiencing the same thing, they will likely have a different perception of what happened, because no two people’s internal map is the same.
By the time I was 8, I had had one hell of a life. Some of it I did not remember until recent years, because my brain buried the traumatic memories deep inside to protect my 4 year old self, my 6 year old self, and my 7 year old self. Although I did not consciously remember the events, the experience and memories were stored in my body, and in my subconscious. They contributed to the way I perceived and experienced the world. By the time I was 8 I had decided a lot of things about my mom.
She could not be trusted.
She did not have my back.
She would not notice if I felt pain.
She would not notice if I disappeared.
I would be punished for things I did not do.
She could not be depended on.
Bad things would happen if I listened to her.
She was the life of the party.
She cared more about her friends and the party than me.
She did not come home because she does not love me.
This was the map and the vision of how I saw my mom. I was not conscious of most of it, and what I was conscious of was surely clouded. This worldview affected my relationship with my mother and all women. The conclusion my child self made, and planted into my subconscious was that my mother and all women could not be trusted, or depended on, and that they would never love me and they would always let me down.
I can see where this world view has affected my relationship and ability to get close to my mom my entire life. My perception was that she was the closed off one. I can see that it must have been hard to love little me so much when I would never let her get close to me. It must have been hard to have good ideas and insights to give me, that I would never really listen to or trust. It must have been hard to watch her girl grow up and not be able to help her, because she would not accept her help. These are all things I am making up, I don’t know if she felt any of these things, because I am not her and I don’t know her way of seeing the world, but I can see that there are many possibilities other than the stories I have held in my head my entire life. So I get to take responsibility for the ways I showed up and shut her out, for the ways I dismissed her, and for the ways I never let her in.
What I do know, now, is that she always did the best she could, and that many of the things I blamed her for subconsciously and consciously were out of her control, and the worst things…she didn’t even know happened. With this wider knowledge and understanding I can look at all the good things my mother gave me, and sit with immense gratitude and love, because I have a wider perception, and perhaps a more accurate, less tainted view of things that happened in my life. And I surely can rewire my map of the world into something more sophisticated and awesome than the one my 8 year old self drew up.
So, mom, or mother, or moo moo (remember when I started calling you that and how much you hated it), I want you to know that I am so very grateful for the things you have brought into my life.
You taught me to be fiercely independent, and to accomplish so much without anyone’s help. This has served me well, and combine that with my newer trait of being able to ask for help, and I will surely be able to change and affect the world.
Even though I rarely took your advice or listened, I heard you, and sometimes those seeds grew. When I did not take your words to heart, I always set out to find a different way. I believe this enabled me to always be able learn and grow. It enabled me to always want to look for the better way in every thing that I do. Sometimes people get stuck with a narrow mind and do not allow for the possibility to do things another way, an outside the box, or outside convention way. I think that these people might live fine lives, but they might have a hard time changing, adapting, and experiencing many wonders of the world.
You made me brave. Had I stayed close to your chest, the fear of leaving might have been crippling. The greatest things I have done has come because I had the courage to take big leaps.
You taught me to live responsibility. Not just by having chores and jobs and stuff, but you taught me to be responsible for myself. That although there may be help out there, nothing would happen unless I put one foot in front of the other and walked towards what I wanted. The kind of responsibility that does not expect the things I want to just fall in my lap. I do not feel entitled. I know that if I want something I must go after it.
Your modeling and words taught me to move from a place of my own power when discriminated against because of my gender. I do not have to fight the typical internal beliefs that little girls are usually taught because I have the internal belief that I do not need to depend on a man, and I am not less than a man.
You laid the groundwork for me to understand that my happiness comes from me, and that no matter how much I may love someone, my happiness comes from me. That I don’t “need” someone else, that I am enough on my own. This has been one of my biggest lessons, and I’m not sure I would have learned it without the groundwork you laid.
There are so many others, but I will end with my favorite: You taught me to trust myself. Although my subconscious may have been not trusting you, this taught me to listen to my own inner voice. This is my most cherished trait, because even when the noise gets loud and everyone is telling me what they think I should do, part of me knows how to listen to and trust my inner voice, the voice that comes from my heart. This part of me is strong because of you.
So mom, I want you to know that I love you more than I ever though possible. That I feel for you the kind of love where we are one, where everything is one. The kind of love we dream our children will have for us. I want you to know that I can see what a beautiful, smart, strong, powerful woman you are, and that you supported me in becoming the same. I want you to know that I love the woman I have become, and I love the woman you are.