Our mother wore a cute little apron and smelled like warm vanilla spice because she was always in the kitchen making our favorite homemade oatmeal cookies. She was on the PTA committee at our school; let all of our friends come over to have slumber parties. The neighbors considered her thoughtful for always cooking a little bit more, just to bring them extras. Our friends wished their mothers were like her. Even our father’s friends wished their wives were more like her, a happily content, stay-at-home mother who volunteered her time to always help out those in need.
She attended all of our sporting events, participated in our afterschool activities and drove us around to karate, ballet, cheerleading, voice lessons or any other hobby our A.D.D. brains wished to pick up next. She never lost her temper, taught us to learn from our mistakes by sitting us down and discussing a poor behavior we might have demonstrated. In essence, she was perfect, the most perfect mother anyone could ever wish for. A super hero type of mother who went above and beyond, always had a positive attitude, and never made any mistakes.
Then we all wake up to reality. The truth is your mother didn’t attend all of your school activities, and she wasn’t on the PTA. When you were old enough you often cooked your own meals. Maybe your mother was a single mother, working 2 or even 3 jobs to take care of you and your siblings, and that is why she couldn’t always be there. If you got out of hand, maybe your mother was the type who said the famous line, “You want me to give you something to cry about?” She wasn’t afraid to set you straight if you were cutting up, no matter where you were, in private or in public. She was hard working, a straight shooter, and your friends feared her. Your friend didn’t want to act like a fool around your mother, because she was going to let them have it, too. Your mother’s feet ached because she was always on them, working. From time to time you were kind enough to remember to rub them for her.
She cooked when she could. She attended things if she had the time. She wasn’t always easy to talk to and didn’t always get your jargon or slang or follow the development of your generation. Maybe there was a cultural, social and generational gap that made your mom stubborn and set in her ways. There might have been times during your teen years or even early 20s where your relationship with your mother was strained or even non-existent.
Maybe you’re the lucky one who happens to have always had a great relationship with your mother, where you can honestly call her your best friend. That’s what makes this world such a beautiful place, the fact that everyone is different because we all come from varying cultures, nationalities, lifestyles, and economical or social statuses. Regardless, your relationship with your mother, both the good and the bad come with its unique set of circumstances.
None of our stories and relationships are exactly alike. All of our mothers have their sets of quirks, pros and cons, too. But the one thing we know for sure that as great as she may have been on some days, she equally had her bad days. Yes, our mothers are flawed. Our mothers are not perfect. They made mistakes. Some mothers made small mistakes here and there. Some mothers made really, really big mistakes. Some mother’s were around and available 24 hours, 7 days a week, on call for us at all times. Other mother’s were hardly there. Then there were those of us that grew up without a mother.
Either way, mothers play a pivotal role in all of our lives. They carry us for 9 months. They give birth to us. They sacrifice for us. The way they treat us and what they teach us affects us in our adult years. Sons learn to treat women with respect, or they learn that it’s okay to disrespect women. Women learn how to nurture our own children. Women learn what we would do differently and finally understand the challenges our mother had after having children of our own.
We all understand and realize one important fact: Our mothers hurt us and we hurt them. Our mothers loved us and we still love our mothers, at least most of us do. Our mothers were great some days and not so great on other days. At the end of the day, we understand that loving, respecting and honoring our mother means embracing all of her. Our mother’s imperfections are what makes her beautiful, unique and ours. She may have not done everything the way that we’d hoped she would. She might have been challenging at times and she might have made some mistakes. But, she did the best she could at the time and that’s all any of us can do.
On this mother’s day, honor your mother by shifting your perspective and seeing her as she truly is, perfectly imperfect.