I love to think about the month of May as "Mother's Month"...instead of just one day!
As I reflect upon Mother's Day and the whole meaning of this honor, I decided to share some of my personal thoughts on this subject matter. I've never done this to this extent, so it should be interesting.
I will probably take two or three days to finish it, since it seems that everything I do is a work in progress, and I just am not able to finish things very fast.
So, I will begin by talking about my own Mother.
I was born into a large (8 children), closely spaced, family of equal siblings.
My own Mother married later in life (30 yrs old) and my father too (29 yrs).
Starting late and always wanting a large family, they started right away and kept having babies, as quickly as God gave them to them. Wow!
Needless to say, this was great fun for them, especially since my Oma (mom's Mom) was available to help with each child and give my mom much needed help while we were young....
yet it created (in my mind and education) a big void in the "adequate attention to build self-esteem" department that children are in much need of.
My mother gave birth to my younger brother (Greg) only a little over one year, after I was born...so my main care giver was my Oma who I bonded with more than I did my own mother, especially since mom was very close to my older sister (Melissa) as she was her first and favorite daughter.
My mom relied on Melissa heavily to help with the younger siblings in much need.
I am sure this is all very normal...yet it did leave a big void of love in my life, so I gravitated toward my father for love and attention and he did a good job of being there equally for all of us and being a Christ-like example of unconditional love as much as a man can be, not being the main care-giver.
My mom was a "fantastic Mom". She could (almost) do it ALL!
She was righteously raising 8 kids all under the age of 11 and so she was more of a drill Sargent from what I remember. Now, being a mother myself, I realize that she was multi-talented, faithful, strong, honest, clean, and quit awesome, if you evaluate her on the whole.
Still most of us were "attention starved" for lack of a better word for it, and this had it's many negative effects on my siblings ~ but hind-site being 20/20 today over-all I still think she was one of the better moms in this world, now that I have an understanding of how difficult this job is.
Growing up, I had a different opinion of her...
Don't get me wrong, I loved my mother, but I did NOT like her.
She had her hands full... thus I rarely got attention from her and when I did it was for negative reasons. She taught me to work hard, but I did NOT like to work hard! My sister was her most obedient favorite and did all that my mother asked and she loved to please my mother so much so that I was mostly forgotten.
Even when I did do something wonderful, my sister would literally get the credit for it...almost every time! I never made a fuss, but that sucked.
When someone had to be blamed for a "wrong" in the home I being shy, quiet, and just enough passive, I was an easy target for my mothers "scapegoating". I often thought of myself as the "black sheep" of my family. That somehow I just did NOT fit in. I felt like I just took up space and that people would be happier if I just did NOT exist.
Maybe I deserved some of this? Yet I know that on a whole, (since I like to evaluate things from an overview perspective) that I had that role or character placed on me, for my mother and family since each sibling takes on a role in each family unit and that this one seemed to follow me around quite a bit while I was living and growing there in their home :(
So with that being said, I got picked on or forgotten a lot from my brothers and sisters.
My older brother and sister were highly favored just due to the fact they were oldest.
Same with the younger bro. and sis.
Then the middle children were fine and needy, due to the fact they were in the middle.
So, my brother Jon, and myself were in the middle of the middle...which meant that we were overlooked often. That is just a fact of life and is no ones fault, but it really wasn't fun, let me tell you.
It was ok for the fact that it afforded me to be more of a "on-looker" of life, verses a participant and I enjoyed that. I was quiet and did not demand attention, unlike my brother Jon who demanded, yelled, screamed, behaved badly etc. to get this attention he needed.
So instead I bottled up my loneliness, my sadness, my depression etc. since I knew of no other way to express myself.
I was too shy to do that, and I didn't even know how if I wanted.
I knew that being good and quiet was a lovely attribute for a good girl, so it being expected of me, naturally it came easy.
My mom was NOT a motherly mom to me. She was my caregiver and that was about it.
I remember once when she twilled the hair on my head with her fingers in church while my head was resting on her lap and I thought I had died and gone to heaven when she did that!! I sucked it up.
I never seemed to get this kind of loving attention and it stuck out as a rare event, which I cherished since it never seemed to happen again the rest of my life!
My mother may recall a completely different story about all I am saying here, or these scenarios, since I am only seeing our relationship though MY eyes in this life, and maybe she tried her best and her best involved much more than I can remember, but I was an extremely sensitive child and this is what stood out to me.
The loneliness, the lack of attention or genuine care, and the void of a female relationship in my life are my memories. Yet I still loved and respected her at all costs. That was just me. I never wanted to judge her, or burn my bridges with her. I just knew that I did not understand all and that no one ever does until you walk in their shoes and know their life through their eyes.
So, I identified with my Oma (Helena Smith) and I made her my role model and took everything lovely, praiseworthy, and spiritual about her and decided I was more like her and could identify with her. I do remember though at around 12 years old deciding at that point in my life deep in my heart that I wanted to be a "friendly" woman, like my own mother, in this life since I did notice that she was a "friendly" lady to all she met and this was a great characteristic that I wanted to make my own.
I know that my mother only wanted the best for us, but she did a lot of criticizing of me in order to get me to do what was right. I am thankful for it now, but growing up it created a lot of dis-like for her, low self esteem and a sense that I was worthless. Maybe being overly sensitive, I made this appear MUCH worse than what it was, but while growing up, it was devastating for me.
I cried A LOT growing up on the whole. Silently in my room for hours, wondering who really LOVED me anyway. I knew my parents "cared" but did they really deeply love me? The way I felt love? I was sure I didn't feel it. Something was missing.
God, or his Holy comforting Spirit, is who comforted me every time I cried deeply from my soul to be loved. I remember vividly the blanket of love that would envelope me everytime when he would comfort my anguished and lonely soul. I just wanted to be understood and appreciated. To be noticed or given an opportunity to do many of the things in life I saw my brothers and sister doing, but not me.
Most of my attention came at the few birthday parties my mother gave to me which I loved, or when she was disciplining me, which I didn't like to be disciplined so I would try to avoid any of that kind of attention.
I am not writing all this for sympathy...it just was the role or position I was put in growing up and it stunk.
Thankfully I was blessed to be able to go to the awesome LDS church youth programs every Sunday where I had excellent role models, teachers and classes.
Yet this also could be a way to cut deeply at my value, seeing what I was missing in life and how much I did or had NOT experience... or was lacking.
It was a two edge sword for sure.
So, as time does NOT stop, I continued to grow up into a young woman, seeing hundreds (literally thousands) of fine, excellent examples of righteous women all around me, yet NOT knowing how in the world I was going to bloom into this person without any personal real guidance or a pathway to becoming this.
Literally NO ONE was there to take my hand and guide me into changing from a child into a woman. This was very painful.
I cried a lot during my teenage years. My parents did not console me. They scolded me when even noticing, for upsetting them with my crying.
I remember once hearing my sister Michelle crying in her room next door, and it touched my heart so much so that I came into her room and comforted her since I knew how it felt to be alone.
She thanked me years later for that special time I was there in her time of great need. I didn't know how that simple kindness had been so well received that day for her. I was grateful I listened to God prompt me to go to her side to encourage her when she really needed it.
So when I came to a dating age, I did not know what to expect. I was supposed to be a young woman overnight, but I was a child in every sense of the word, since I had almost NO experience in life.
This frightened me! So much so, that one day in a deep fit of crying and pouring my soul out to God complaining how I had NOT received any physical help for years, I came to a point where from the depths of my soul at that very moment I cursed God and denounced Him from my life, for NOT being there for me and physically not doing something about my destitute situation.
I thought no big deal about my tantrum that day, but I HAD done something foolish...yet I would see over the next 20 years how I had deeply hurt God's feelings at that point in my life and how I had literally in my heart shut him out and did NOT listen to or trust God's spirit any longer for many many years after this. In my mind, I had not done this. Hind-site is 20/20!!
So, NO longer trusting God in fall of 1984 I began to "grow up", make decisions on MY own. He could NOT physically help me, so I decided that I no longer needed Him in my life, and that I could NOT rely on Him. It was NOT in a fit of selfishness, more as it was during a time of complete and utter giving up on myself, God, life and any hope of God guiding me to what I desperately felt I should become in life. Remember I had dozens of "excellent" role models that were living a glorious life around me, to which any person would envy!
I soon met my future husband. At first I was a little hesitant to date him, since he literally looked like he had been around the block a few times. That means he looked VERY worldly and NOT of my kind. He was different! He quickly paid MUCH attention to me and knew my every thought. He knew JUST what to say to make me actually like myself! He made me feel valuable! He taught me to NOT care about other peoples feelings. He showed me that I mattered! It was like giving water to a dying person in the desert. I desperately needed this attention and I felt that God had finally answered my prayers and that I was finally getting what I needed.
My Mother was furious! She did NOT like my boyfriend! She did NOT approve. She did NOT like how he was a compulsive liar to her, my family, and my sister Melissa. I did NOT see it that way...and besides, Did I care?...of course NOT!!! He had what I needed and that was all that mattered! They finally meant nothing to me for all the years I had been their door mat... and now it was my time to shine!
I was still trying to be a good girl, but now I had to think of me and not God or others, besides I figured that God would be proud of me if I would "convert" my boyfriend and that he would change into a better person. I certainly was getting the attention I desperately needed. I could give my boyfriend the Gospel or love of God that he needed....little did I know, I was the tail...and the tail does NOT wag the dog! HELLO!
So after gaining the adequate attention I needed to finally become strong enough to be a independent young woman with a good head on her shoulders, this boy in my life was NOT going to go away easily. I sometimes questioned my relationship but HOW could I be so ungrateful to let go of what I believed God had given to me. Plus, didn't my boyfriend NEED the gospel and wasn't I the ONLY one who he would accept it from. Wouldn't we both be doing each other a favor by keeping up the "you have what I need" relationship. AND, like I said, he was NOT going to go away quietly. He was NOT the quiet, respectful type. So instead, I married him.
I know it appears that I got off track, but I just wanted to establish how my relationship with my mother got even MORE "off track" (distant) with the relationship and marriage with my ex-husband. He actually would encourage that, and I was ok with it too since he had showed me that it was THEM that had caused me so much heart ache in life, even though later it appeared that he got along fine with my parents when he was around them with our grandchildren, and they learned to accept him and treated him kindly. Especially since we didn't live too close yet visited as often as we could.
I was ok about this mainly since I never felt that they genuinely cared for me any way...remember?
My new husbands mom (Leni) and his dad treated me decent...but looking back there was ALWAYS something missing. They treated me like I was more JUST a girlfriend! Someone their son had brought home for the weekend....There was NO genuine love.
Being one who was grateful for what ever I had, How was I to know the difference, you ask?
Not until years later after my divorce from them and my new relationship with my current loving Mother-In-Law would spring up, would I ever know how indifferent I had been treated. I felt it back then, but today I now know it.
I must say here, that through all the perceived and real negative emotional distance I felt from my own biological mother, or previous mother-in-law, I never once FORGOT their birthdays, Mother's Day, or holidays without sending a card, gifts and sentiments of love and honor.
That is just who I am. I have always honored my elders...even when I did NOT like or agree with what I saw, or felt of them. I am glad that I was, and am, that kind of person since now that I am older I see that I just did NOT know many things when I was younger.
Older people DO deserve respect and honor since we all seem to do the exact things they did, later in life when we get older, since there is a rhyme and reason to many, if not all, things that older people do, having lived life much longer and wiser than us who are younger.
Thus I have always loved and honored my Mother throughout all my life and I am extremely grateful to finally be married to a MAN who encourages me to be this kind of woman. (MY real self)
He encourages love between my mother and his (my mother in law) and I.
I am always amazed at his great respect for her no matter what she says or what her opinion is.
I find it to be genuine, and of great integrity, from a man to treat his mother and all woman around him this way. It is rare to find this and I am lucky to be with such a decent man.
I am also extremely lucky (blessed) to have a Mother-in-law (Maria) who genuinely LOVES me for real and I feel it!
It may have taken me half my life to finally have this blessing... but gee it feels great and boy do I have a great appreciation for it !
My own mother who lives two states away is now much closer to me. After years of just accepting her for who she is and having a husband who encourages this, I have learned to get along with her much better and we have a pretty good relationship.
I also now know, now that my own children were alienated from me, how it feels to be treated with kindness and love, so I am always sending my mom cards, emails, gifts and the like, just for fun or to brighten her day.
Heavens, she did much for me growing up that I will probably NEVER remember!
Just knowing that this is how I am here alive today, means that she deserves respectful love back from me...even if I am not like her in many ways and I still do not get the full on attention, love or care that my older sister or even younger sisters get from her. Even much more than I did or will ever get.
So I love being a Mother myself. This has afforded myself MUCH in the way of learning what a parent goes through to raise a human being. We all try our best...even when our best JUST IS NOT good enough by anyone's standards...especially our own children's!
I remember once, while I was a young Mother (so in love with my many children) and feeling just heavenly about my calling as a Mother, someone said to me....There's an old saying, "A son is a son till he takes a wife, a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life"........
Meaning that once a son marry's and has children, he will not go home so much any more, but more often go with the grandchildren to his wifes home (the in-laws) and family, but a daughter will bring her children home more often to her parents.
This made me feel bad since all I had were sons!!
I thought, surely this will NOT happen to me. Surely my sons will KNOW how deeply I love and cherish them and how much I adore children and they will know that my home will be a place of love and beauty and they will WANT to come home to my house~ just as often if not MORE !!
Now that I am older with many friends with sons, I do see that this happens very often. Of course my own husband doesn't ignore his mom. He sees his mother almost every other weekend and he is very good to her. (through his forgiveness even they are close even though he was the black sheep in his family and NOT favored by his parents)
Sadly, my ex was given the opportunity to show his true colors over many years he and I were supposed to co-parent, and he decided to alienate my children from me after our divorce as a form of punishment to me for leaving him even though it was HE that defiled our marriage and did not honor his covenants before God. He knows I am a good mother and that my children would benefit from my love in their lives.
Then he has made sure that my children have been brainwashed to believe that not only am I NOT a good mother, but that I am a "bad" mother and has taught them to forget all the love and care I gave them as children! This has been a sad state of affairs. Even his Mother will NOT allow her grandchildren the love they deserve from their own bio mother into their lives. Now that is eternally SELFISH!
Luckily, God blessed me with the opportunity to raise my youngest son Alex who has managed to heal my heart, showed me an abundance of LOVE (my ex even tried to take him away from me also when he saw this, from what he shows and tells others), and Alex tell's me all the time that he will NEVER leave me and that he will bring home his children (my grandchildren) to me to love and cherish when he has them in his future!
Alex is truly a Mothers Blessing!
It was a miracle he made it to earth when you hear the story of what it took to get him here.. from conception to today!!!
We must be ever vigilant to keep this boy protected and watched over, from those who would like to harm him to get to him in order to bring me pain!
So I am grateful for my 6 boys! and that God chose me to be their mother. God told me many things about them and why they were placed with me, that someday I will hopefully share with them.
Oh and by the way, I did come back to having a heart for or trusting God, after I grew up over the next 20 years and I learned to trust God again. It was difficult but I made it.
I only wish my children were here to see this. I have so much love waiting for them.
They could have had so much more in life from me as their Mother but others kept them from my love and blessings but that is ok....my love is eternal and does NOT end when they are not longer minors. It goes beyond when they are old and I am gone...it goes on BEYOND the grave into the eternities!
Someday I hope my boys will finally know what these words here mean...and they will remember what I wrote and they will say to themselves... " OH!...NOW I UNDERSTAND HOW my mortal mother (and hopefully eternal mother) loved me...and she tried to say and show this great love to me, and she tried her best to show me how deeply she loved me!!!"
I pray that they will say to themselves and others " I desire to always have her in my life no matter what...or at least, I will begin working on having her back in my life for now and always."
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers....even to those who just mother our children while we are NOT able to mother them. Please, kindly remember those all around you and all they have done to bring you life, happiness and JOY....
you see...all that is sacred.....all that is good....all that brings life.... always leads back to a....