When we understand what really matters, then we can focus on that and try to bring more meaning into our lives.
Mothers’ Day can be bittersweet for many people
There are those of us who mourn a loved and lost mother or child. Some of us mourn the child we never had and the life we would have experienced with that child. For some there’s anger, regret or sadness about a childhood with a mother who hurt us by not providing the love and care we associate with mothering. Whatever your experience with mothering, it can be thought-provoking to ponder on what’s important about Mothers’ Day and what that means to us. When we understand what really matters, then we can focus on that and try to bring more of what matters into our lives.
I think of my mother,
who died in 1999 after a long illness with early onset Alzheimer’s, with rose-coloured glasses. To me she was somewhat of a saint. She spent a lot of time organising games for us when we were young, and life was fun with her. The overarching memory I have of my beautiful mother Billie is her appreciation and gratitude for life. Everywhere we went she found beauty and awe. From a simple sunset to bird song to amazement at the height of city buildings.
Billie engendered this love of the world into her daughters and we all have a strong gratitude practice which I believe stands us in good stead in challenging times. Wonderfully this trait has been handed down to her granddaughters whom all have a strong appreciation and gratitude for the wonders of the world. I remember when my daughter was growing up she would sometimes say “mum look at the amazing tree” and I would be reminded of my mother’s love of nature.
My sisters on the other hand, have very different memories of Mum. For them she was a super organiser of school fetes before the onset of dementia and then a fallible, imperfect human. These different experiences with our mother remind me of what’s important.
I’m also aware of what I missed with Mum; which was an interest in learning. This I had to search for and get elsewhere. Luckily nurturing a love of learning was provided by other family members but it’s absence in my relationship with my mother reminds me of its importance. It really matters to me.
Find your pain and choose your meaning
There’s a saying that we find meaning in our pain. Writing down how the day makes you feel and putting a name to your emotions can help with this process. What did you miss growing up or do you miss now that it is no longer there? If your painful memories of mothering remind you that love was missing – this tells us that love is important to you (as it is to us all). And the question arises, how can you express this in your life? If what was missing to you was big family gatherings, how can you fill that need today? Find your pain and choose your meaning.
For me, remembering my Mum, I’m reminded that nature matters and I intentionally make that a part of my life. And I can remember what I missed and yearned for – and make that a part of my life too.
Finding what really matters in a bittersweet Mothers’ Day
Whether the memories are bitter or sweet they show us what is meaningful to us – what really matters. It’s up to us to incorporate what really matters into our lives today and celebrate what Mothers mean to us. When we understand what really matters, then we can focus on that and try to bring more of what matters into our lives. Even on today of all days.