Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in the USA. A day designated to honor and recognize Mothers. In other countries Mothers seem to be highly regarded and honored on a daily basis. Sometimes they are as well here. It just depends on the family outlook.
It is difficult to be a Mother. For me it came at a very young age and certainly was not something I was prepared to take on or even had an inkling of how to do. It came about from being forced into a marriage I so did not want to go through with and pleaded with my Mother for a few weeks before the wedding to allow me to cancel it. She stood her ground telling me the florist was paid. The invitations were out and it would be embarrassing if I canceled the wedding. That I had to go through with it. I should have gone to my Dad. He wouldn’t have cared about the flowers or the opinions of others. I wasn’t close to my Dad then and my Mother ruled.
I was never asked why I didn’t want to marry the man or even what I wanted. It wasn’t until years later I realized my Mother wanted me to marry and out of the house. I on the other hand, wanted to go to college and marry someone more suited for me after college. It of course didn’t happen.
A few months after the wedding I became pregnant and of course there was no instruction booklet or guide of how to be pregnant. Not then anyway. I think and hope times have changed a bit. I was in an abusive marriage so the pregnancy was difficult because I was stressed, abused and many times had the food on my plate that I needed to nourish the baby and me, taken from my plate. The pills for calcium to build the baby’s bones, he took. Something I will never know why. The joy of being pregnant like so many other things was taken from me. So I did the best I could with what little knowledge I could garner.
At the grocery I bought Dr. Spock’s first book, hiding it under my side of the bed. It was some form of a guideline of a good way to raise a child. The advice was hands down far different then how I was raised yet I knew it was a better way. I also knew that I would get out of the marriage as soon as I could after the child was born.
Each day and night I prayed the child would be a girl. I felt that if it was a girl then I had a chance of raising her a little easier on my own. At least as a female I could more or less relate to who she was and what her needs may be. It was a tough thing to be facing at such a young age however like so many who walk in the same path as I did, it has to be done and it has to be followed as best one can manage.
The doctor decided for his convenience to induce labor which placed the managed arrival at about two weeks sooner then it seemed was appropriate. It did not go well. Injection after injection was peppered into my thighs, hips, arms. I looked like I had been sprinkled with pepper when it was all over. I think there were 23 injections in all. Bottom line, the child just did not want to come. So to give her first impression to the world, she came breach after close 24 hours in labor. My sister showed up on the scene drunk, loudly demanding all sorts of things which were in appropriate and not necessary. The man I was married to, wasn’t much more sober then she. It added to the wild night of just wanting to disappear and wait for another day.
At long last they swept me away, slapping a mask on my face to put me to sleep. When I woke there was a cute little baby next to me in a plastic cart. The nurse told me it was a girl. I was so relieved and thankful that my prayers had been answered. It was a reward for the entire ordeal of the previous day and night. For the marriage, for the abuse endured. There was a battle over what name to give the sweet little girl. I had chosen a name and gave it to the nurse only to have my then husband, override the first name and replace it with that of a sister who had passed. The middle name I chose remained the same and that is what she went by. Yet she still to this day has to deal with the first name and I wish I had changed it long years ago. I was young though with no one around to help or advise on that front.
Life moved onto the responsibility of a child with little to go on other then what I read in Dr. Spock’s book. My then husband refused to do anything at all to help. No help with feeding, no help with diapers. No help with house cleaning or cooking. I tried my best to keep things on a peaceful level yet just like the life I had left behind, I could not do enough to keep the peace. When she was only a few months old I found a job and placed her in a nursery school while I was at work. Soon my husband lost his job. He still would not help around the house or change a diaper. I still took her to the nursery school which was probably for the best. I waited until he had another job and then filed for a divorce.
I knew I needed to protect my child from abuse and I knew somehow I would make it on my own. Again there was no instruction book to guide me on my path as a single Mother. The stress level of course increased and still so young myself we some how set about growing up together. It would have been better if I could have gone to college and then had my daughter however it was what it was.
I dated yet knew I did not want to remarry until she was much older. I didn’t want the influence of how to raise her. I wanted her to have an open mind with no prejudices. I wanted her to be free in her thinking with no restrictions. I wanted her to be what ever she wanted to be so I gave her many of the things I did not get. That is something I think most Mother’s try to do for their children. We give them the things we dream of having as a child. Ballet lessons. Music lessons. Voice lessons. College. We do what we can do with what we have to perhaps offer a better life for them then we had. I think that is a trait of all Mothers. It is not something that would come in an instruction booklet. It is something that is much like how a wolf or a bear would do for their cubs. The difference is we are not so prone to push them out the door as an animal in the wild or my Mother was with me.
As Mother’s we try to make the footing a little easier. The path less rocky. The life ahead with a little more promise. A college education if we can, helps set that tone. Some can not do that. I was fortunate that somehow I managed to pull that off for my daughter. I don’t think I was the best Mother in the world or even a good one. There were so many demands. So much responsibility. There was the chiding that I really needed to remarry. That it is best a child has a father as well. Yet while those were hurtful words, I somehow knew in my heart it was not really the best for a child. Not if there was abuse or lack of carrying. It was better to be the only parent. The only source to prevent and protect.
As Mother’s we are proud of what and who they become or at least I am. I am very grateful for a beautiful daughter who sprung from the darkness of early difficulties to be a beautiful blossom in my life. She is a beautiful, bright and very capable woman. I am grateful her life is pleasant and for the man she chose to bring into our small family of just my daughter and me. He adds a lot to her life and she to his. They to mine. It is the best that any Mother can ask for if a daughter decides to marry. It is a comfort and a joy to know her life is good. It is the best reward of being a Mother.
So it is of Motherhood one steps into with blinders and then as the journey moves on the light shows, the flowers bloom and the heart is joyful because it is one of the best paths one can take even with out an inkling of what lay ahead. Even though not all Mothers follow the best path, we tend to care for them anyway. My Mother was a good woman and the outward world really loved her. She did a lot of good for many people. At home she was a different person and we walked on eggs. Yet she was my Mother and I respected her wishes, who she was and spent most of my life trying my best to make her life better. To gain her approval until the day she passed. I never did, however because of her push of me into a marriage albeit a bad one, I have had a gift for life of my daughter. For that I am grateful.
A Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers who read this where ever you are. Of Motherhood, we walk together as one.