Monday, May 11, 2015

The Lovely Month of Mothering by Grace Burrowes

It occurs to me that there isn't a Daughter's Day, not that's widely celebrated, and thus I'll take this day after Mother's Day to create one. I have only one child, a daughter a few years shy of thirty, and for all practical purposes, she has had only one parent, in the person of yours truly.

As I approached motherhood, I had to get over at least two serious misconceptions. First, I thought becoming a mother would connect me to my species across generations. If I had a baby, I reasoned, I'd feel closer to my grandparents, and to my grandchildren, if any should ever appear. I envisioned Burrowes family links disappearing into the mists of the past and future, in the person of my only child. "Land, Katie Scarlett--and babies!" thought I. 

Hmm. Turns out, when that child showed up, I felt more connected to everybody. To every parent, every child, every elder, every family dog or cat. We're all in this together, and anybody who's ever held a baby knows how the experience opens the heart to the entire community.


My second misconception was that prior to Beloved Offspring's birth, I had already learned what it was to love passionately. I'd been in love at least three times (count 'em), lived with a guy, and rearranged my life to make a partnered plan work. 

Well, not quite. I had certainly desired passionately. I had been in love, but to love as a mom was a whole 'nother level of tenacious, resourceful, and resilient. I had been flirting with love before, and when Herself showed up, the opening rounds were over--I love my daughter, irrevocably, and also with a grasp of the concept of a boundary. I'm hers for keeps, no matter what, though my love respects her privacy and personhood. A lot of my own issues were resolved by parenting, because I could see from a mother's vantage point how to accept the whole flawed, wonderful person, even when that person was... myself. 

To gain these insights, about the durability of true love, and the breadth of it, I had to become a parent, and a parent to this lovely child. Other people can come to similar conclusions without reproducing, but that's the door that opened before me.

Everything I've done worth noting--represented foster children, written books, been a friend/daughter/sister/etc--has been illuminated by the lessons I've learned being my daughter's mom. My education is far from complete, but I do know this: Nothing in my life has yielded gifts as vast and unending as has the privilege of being my daughter's mother. 

What lessons have the children,  the elders, or the beasts taught you about love and life? To three commenters, I'll send signed copies of David: Lord of Honor. (For e-readers, David--who also had a lot to learn about love--is on sale for $1.99, so grab your beach reading copy now.)

8 comments:

  1. Just when you think you know it all, you become a mom and you realize you know nothing. I think I'm too much in the thick of it to know what lessons I've learned, but I will say that children are definitely a gift that enriches you more than you ever can fathom.

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  2. patience

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  3. I understood my mom on a whole different level when my kids were born. I remember her saying to me as a teen, you don't understand now, but you will. She was SO right, and I said the same to my kids. My grandson is 11 months and my daughter has already said to me, "I get it now". She got it a lot earlier than I did!

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  4. How much time is there to type all the things I've learned after becoming a mom from my children and parents? Here are a few of them: There is no limit on how much (or how many people) you can love. No matter how much you know, you don't know enough and there is plenty more to learn. Parents deserve your appreciation and respect - so do children. A little patience can go a long way, but sometimes you need a lot of patience (both as a child and as a parent). No matter how old a child gets sometimes, he or she just needs to talk to mom or dad.

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  5. I have been 'mom' to fur-persons and to employees...and have learned that they have given me as much or more as I have given them...in affection, love, and devotion and in teaching me things about myself and them. Thanks for the thoughtful post and for the giveaway! (and what a stunning horse!)

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  6. Becoming a mother was when I learned about my limitations and my strengths. I never knew I could love so completely; I never knew that it IS possible to hold your tongue under any circumstances, that howsoever harrowed you might be, there are things you can never say, and I never did. Strikes me as sort of remarkable now that I'm out on the grandmother end of the cycle that the ability to smother comments still exists! And the love doesn't wither but grows and grows and grows ...

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  7. I learned a lot about myself when I became a mother. My daughter was hospitalized when she was an infant and I became her advocate. I found that I had the confidence and patience to deal with doctors, nurses and insurance companies.
    Motherhood has been a twenty plus year job which has brought me great joy and I have learned patience and compassion. I wouldn't trade it for the world! :)

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  8. I've just come back from my oldest daughter's wedding - out of state and glorious. This was her second wedding - the best thing I can say about her short lived first marriage is that she learned that she deserved a lot more than she got and to recognize what it really means to be in a committed relationship). Parenthood has taught me that their pain and joy exceeds anything that I have felt for myself.

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