Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How mothers lose and how they can win

I have more than a few friends on facebook who are teenagers. I love reading the things they post, their excitement of life, their despair of things gone awry, their jokes and links, all of it. It's fascinating to me. If only I could have used facebook as a teen! One of my friends posted this on Tumblr, via facebook. This particular girl is a new friend. She writes some really beautiful things. This little bit touched me and tied in with what I've been writing about mothers. I asked her if I could quote it and she said I could, so here it is:

Dear mother,

I know you try your best, but that just does not make up for all the wrong you have done in the past. I am sorry but I don’t think I can ever forgive you completely. I love you but some things never change. I hate the fact that you took my father away and gave me strangers apartment couches. Honestly if you brake up with my current step dad, I am not leaving. ~Christa Lee Anne Colt

The fragility of relationships is so stunning to me. Even a very loving mother can do tons of damage, irreparable damage to their children. Forgiveness is a strange thing. Some people never completely forgive their parents. It's true, I've seen it. Some kids grow up and change and forgive and move on, but some wounds are too deep, too much, too heart breaking. Sometimes the best a person can do is try to forget, try to do things differently, try to heal.

I feel so blessed to have found a way to not inflict damage onto my kids. They will never need to heal from their relationship with me. They will never need to find it in their hearts to forgive me of a great wrong. When I do wrong, I apologize and change the way I do things.

I started writing about mothers because of one mother whose daughter ran away. It's heart breaking. So many broken hearts. Yet it isn't just that mother and that daughter whose hearts are broken. One broken hearted mother has reached out with her grasp to control, to touch dozens of lives, but not in a happy or positive way, in a heart wrenching sad way. Stories keep coming to me from the friends of the daughter, of sadness over the loss of her, the loss of her friendship, the cruelty they see this mother doing to her daughter, and to Chamille. Some of those kids have been able to communicate with this girl and even see her, but it's bittersweet for them because of all the sadness that it creates since most of them are also friends with or know Chamille.

Like Christa's mother, this mother took away a father and replaced him with herself. I don't know Christa's story, I have yet to meet her mom, but I have met her step dad. He was willing to drive all the way out to our side of town to pick her up at 1 am (about a half hour drive) so that she could go have fun doing a haunted house. Not a lot of parents will do that!

It is simply not good enough to try your best. One must rise above what they think their personal best is and reach for something even better. Kids get only one chance at being a kid and parents get only one chance at being the mom or dad of that kid. What we do matters! It matters a lot!

Mothers can lose their children, perhaps not physically, but emotionally. If a mother causes too much damage to the relationship, even if they are well intentioned in doing so, children will guard themselves, put up walls for their own emotional security and well being. They do it to their parents and often it gets carried onward into personal relationships.

So how can a mother win the hearts of their children? By putting their children's hearts first, by looking towards what will make their relationship better with their children. If what a mother does, isn't relationship building, she should not be doing it. Sometimes mothers can trick themselves into believing in a greater good and bypass the here and now of their relationship with their children. Raising children is ONLY here and now. There is no tomorrow more important than what is right there in the moment. Life is precious. Sometimes kids don't live to adulthood, sometimes, when they do, they move far away literally and figuratively, and sometimes they don't wait until adulthood to leave.

IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE THAT WAY! Did you hear that? It really doesn't! Life can be beautiful RIGHT NOW. In any moment a parent can stop what they are doing and do something different, something kind and gentle and soft and loving, something that creates happiness, something that creates a stronger relationship. Any parent can find a way to do what is better, one step in the direction of what is happier.

If your default is to be angry, calm yourself, if it's to yell, silence yourself, it it's to criticize, say something kind, if it's to guilt, assume positive intent and examine your assumptions.


Heather's Moving Castle said...

Nice posts! I am glad you shared your blog on the chat yesterday! Thanks!!!!

Jenny Cyphers said...

Your welcome Heather! I have more to write about it all!