The Joys of Mamahood

These two little ones are like magnets. They cannot be apart from each other too long. They fight, argue, and then have to crawl up next to each other. Their beginnings weren’t easy. Kali Rose, was my daughter’s first born. My ex and I took her in when she was only 5 months old. My daughter came into my life from Romania when she was 9 years old. She is mentally unable to take care of herself, let alone a child. Luke was her second child. He is 3 years younger than Kali Rose.

It took us four years to finalize his adoption. He was with his bio-mom for 10 months of his life. It was not a pretty or easy story… one that I can’t share without my heart breaking into tiny pieces. He is healthy and happy and one of the most forgiving souls I’ve ever encountered in my life.

My daughter has had two other babies who are now loved by forever-adopted families.

I may know a little bit about being a mother… of 8 kiddos. I have learned that patience is the essence of relating to our children. That humor can change a room full of kids. That love is the bare necessities of their development. And, that somedays are hard and full of challenges and things can shift in a minute. All of it passes in the blink of an eye.

I don’t know if I am a good mother or not. It’s not for me to decide. Some of my kids will say I am. Others, not so much. And we all have our stories.

I have been brought into this world to mother, not just my children, but myself and others. It’s in the past few years that I have learned to mother me in places that I neglected.

I miss my mother on holidays like today. She was a hard woman, and she was soft. She was courageous, and she was fearless. She taught me the things I wouldn’t do to my children from what she did to me. My mother was a warrior and an incredible powerful example of strength in my life. There was an unstoppable force in her that dictated everything and everyone around her. Her perseverance was definitely passed onto my genes. When I began to adopt children she was not happy to say the least. She judged my choices terribly. And, as most people who cannot accept their own choices, she lashed out at every decision I made with my children. However, she did love them in her own way.

Mothering my kiddos has been the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Even on the days that I am exhausted, hurt, and have no clue what to do, I find myself laughing and crying simultaneously.

What makes a mother a good one?

Your ability to transcend all the hardships and turn them into lessons. Your ability to forget quickly and forgive deeply. Letting go is the secret to this profession. If you hold on too tight you lose your grip.

I used to compare myself to the perfect PTA mothers at their school when my children were little. I could barely get all six out of the house and when I would drop them off at school I would judge myself based on how the mothers all looked. My kids were dressed, clean but sometimes (okay maybe a lot) disheveled. They were loved deeply. They knew it and felt it.

Today, on Mother’s Day, I hope you remember to mother YOU. Recall those moments you thought would last forever and you made it. You have done your job. I also want to honor those who aren’t mothers of little people but animals. Others who have chosen to mother the world with their love and presence. I believe there are fathers out there mothering the hell out of their children alone. My hat goes off to all of you. Every single person in this world has the ability to mother the world.

I love you… love yourself with the same fierce intensity you give to others, including your children.

Millie

The pics below are from our day exploring yesterday:

A Loving Heart Heals All

stock-footage-mother-with-baby-walking-on-sea-coast-silhouettes-sunset

Sometimes, when one of my adult children come asking for advice, I have to take a giant pause.  My immediate answer is usually very different from what I would give another person as suggestions, counseling or help.  I listen.  Then I listen some more.  In my middle age I have learned to detach from being a parent and truly be available for them.  It’s not easy.  There are subjects that I rather not touch with any of them.  But, I am so grateful that they do come to me, not so much as a parent, but as someone who has experienced life just a little bit ahead of them.  I giggle at the thought that they think I have an unlimited amount of wisdom.  Heaven knows I am constantly having to Google for answers or improvise.

There are boundary lines we create with our children.  I ask myself, “What would I tell a friend asking me this same thing?  How would I guide that person if I had not invested my heart completely?”  The reality is that there is no difference.  There is no inequality in how I would treat another over my children.  My kids are all of adult age.  Conversations about sex, drugs, alcohol, traveling, and whatever is out there does come up.  We are not “that” open to discuss each others’ adventures but they know that I am here for the long haul.  It doesn’t matter what has happened, the torturing of teenage years that left me in pure exhaustion, or that our hearts have been fractured many times.  We are still a family.  We are the sum of our experiences: past, present and future.

I look back at raising six individuals.  Whether or not their mental issues, capacities, and past environments (before they arrived into my arms) have played a large part in their evolution I take full responsibility for letting them know that I got their backs.  I will not baby them.  I will not partake in senseless acts that will put them in harm.  I will not advocate destructive behavior.  But, what I will do is let them know that I am here with two ears, open arms to hold them, and plenty of kisses to heal all wounds.  I am here to respect their choices and not tell them “I told you so” even when I want to because life could have been a bit easier for them. But then they wouldn’t learn just like I didn’t learn from my mother.

I have not been a “perfect” mother.  I have no idea what that would entail.  What does the perfect mother look like?  How does she dress?  How does she speak?  Where does this perfect mother live?  How does she handle bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, mental challenges, schizophrenia, hallucinations, ADD, ADHD, and dissociative identity disorder? How does this mythical creature raise her children to be the best possible adult?  I have stopped trying to emulate her. I am way too absent minded to be able to focus in searching for her. I have come to a healthy place of accepting me, all my flaws, and love the wholeness of my mothering skills.

Ultimately it is all about love and respect.  Whether you are raising a child, in a relationship with another, helping a total stranger, life requires that you are present in love. You will never have all the answers but that is what the Internet is for! However, you can allow the heart to open and fully be present through kindness and compassion with another.  As the Dalai Lama has been quoted, “What is love?  Love is the absence of judgment.”  Love is contagious. Without judgment we heal, learn, and find peace through the embodiment of Oneness.