Throughout my teaching career I have seen all types of mothers: loud, quiet, worried, over-protective, overwhelmed, stressed, guilt-ridden, frantic, peaceful, relaxed, abused – a whole spectrum of women, all trying to do their best by their children.
Because I teach primary aged children, I see the delight in the children’s faces when their mums come and collect them from the school gates at home time. It doesn’t matter how much of a brilliant day we’ve had at school, I get a huge satisfaction of seeing children race to their mothers’ arms and be enveloped in a huge hug.
Whenever I get the chance to pick my own daughters up, I’m almost knocked over by the ferocity of their hugs. They are so pleased to see me. Even now, whilst I’ve been writing this blog, I had to stop for a while because my eldest just wanted a cuddle.
But I know that open display of affection doesn’t last forever. A few years later and it will be uncool to let your mum know that you love her. I have two daughters so I’m dreading the hormonal clashes. The teenage rebellion. Being at loggerheads with one another. I will remember how I felt at their age – not being an adult, but feeling like one. Thinking that I knew best. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn’t.
It’s definitely not something that I’m looking forward to.
However, you come through that too. In the teenage years, you take your mum for granted, you don’t realise how much she is doing. You don’t realise how much she is hurting inside. You don’t realise that she’s so used to protecting you, that it pains her to see you trying to push her away. I saw a card in a shop yesterday, on the front cover it read ‘Dear Mum, I get it now and I’m sorry!’
Eventually, there comes a time when suddenly – you’re not fighting. Suddenly, you realise that you actually need your mum – and she’s there for you. Just as she was when you were little and needed a cuddle. Just as she always was there during your rebellion. You just never noticed.
My blog is actually for those adults who are lucky enough to still have their mother within calling distance. Be that at the end of a phone, or a text, or a drive, or even a plane ride away. Call your mum. Make amends if you’re angry with her. Say sorry if you upset her. Just put yourself in her shoes for a moment and think about what she has done for you, for you to get where you are now. Is an annual, obligatory Mother’s Day card and birthday card sufficient? Would it hurt to send a text just to see how she is? In fact, video call so that she can see your face, and tell you that you’re not eating enough, that you need to take care of yourself more, and do you want her to cook your favourite food for you…would that not be a better way to communicate if you can’t visit?
If you’re a parent and you don’t make the time or the effort to spend time with your own mother, what message are you giving your own children? That they can discard you when you are older, and no longer need you too?
The problem…the fact of life is, that people are not around forever. Having already lost one parent I can tell you that losing him was one of the hardest things in life that you never get over. Perhaps that’s why I hold onto my own mum a little bit tighter than I need to. If I’m sad – she’s there, offering moral support, telling me that everything that happens for the best, telling me not to worry. If I’m happy – she’s pleased for me, telling me that she had been praying for me and willing for things to go my way. There isn’t a day that I don’t count my blessings for her still being here.
There are those, whose mothers have passed away. One thing that I truly believe, a mother’s love is so strong that she is always there for her children, even after she had passed, as a protective shield. It’s no consolation for those who have lost their mothers though. I know so many people who would do anything in the world to be able to talk to their mother one more time. To hear her voice one last time. To be scolded by her once again. To be held one more time.
Think of those people.
If you are lucky enough to have your mum around – for your own sake, take the time to reach out and spend more time speaking and communicating with her. I’m not saying mothers are perfect, easy to get along with, angelic creatures. What I’m saying is – you only get one. One who carried you, nurtured you and made you capable of standing on your own two feet.
If you do nothing else today – reach out…
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?