My mother didn’t teach me how to cook directly. It wasn’t that she wasn’t good at it, she was an excellent chef but she felt that “mom’s cook, kid’s played”. What mom taught me was that although children needed to be children they also should be in the kitchen with mom, learning and bonding. She taught me to buy my son’s little aprons and teach them that men can cook and that they can have fun in the kitchen and eating something you made is a great reward.
My mother didn’t teach me to be very domesticated. I had very few chores and was just encouraged to play, relax, and be a kid, then be a teen. She showed me that if kids have no responsibilities that will lead into their adult lives and make functioning a bit difficult. She showed me that I need to make a chore list at home, and make my boys stick to it no matter how much they moaned about how much fun it wasn’t.
My mother didn’t know how to let go and relax when I reached my teens and adulthood. She showed me that the tighter you hold on to your children … the more they will struggle to get free. And no matter what we try to show them they will always screw up because they are human and that’s what we do. She showed me they need to know that in my arms and heart they always have somewhere to return to after they screw up. My children will someday have disappointments in life that will also disappoint me. But, they will always know I love them, and should they return home for some reason; I’ll sit down and talk to them like adults and take out my anger at the gym and cry after they are sleep.
My mother did teach me that children need affection. There was never a moment in my childhood when I wasn’t getting hugged or kissed. I rarely remember asking her to play a game and having her tell me “No”. And I know that no matter how old my kids get they will always get hugs and kisses from me as I smile and ignore the protests of “Moo-ooom, I’m too big for this.” … Yes … Yes dear you are, but you’ll remember this moment when I’m gone.
My mother taught me that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to… without a man, a lesson that I had forgotten in recent years. We never went hungry, I was never that dirty kid in school, we were never “homeless” for very long. We were gypsies for a while but that was an adventure in my young mind, and I learned from those experiences… about society and about being a woman. We may have moved around a lot but I remember that every time we were settled long enough she was always registered in whatever community college was close by… every time. It may have taken her years to do but she obtained her college degree a few years ago. We weren’t speaking at the time but she sent me her degree. I have it framed in my house, and I’m always proud when I see it and it’s given me motivation to pursue my Bachelor’s degree so they can hang together.
My mother raised me alone my whole life, and she may have made some mistakes. But, all humans do, no one is perfect. And one of my children may be writing a narrative like this in 20 years about me and my mistakes. Who knows?
There are many things I know now as a woman and mother because of things she didn’t do. But there are so many things I know because of what she DID do and who she was. I know that she tried her best and that she loved me in the best way she could.
To all the mother’s out there reading this; Just do the best you can to make sure your children know you love them, the other mistakes will seem small in comparison when they are older, but if they stray… bringing them back if they don’t know you love them will be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
~ Keep Writing ~