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Holding on

If I am the one person you turn to when you to finally fall completely apart, who can listen quietly to your tears and despair, then I have done half of my job as a mother. The other half is to try to impart the patience to accept that there is a plan for you here and this too shall pass.

As children age, the characters in the performance change from that malleable being a parent can shape, to the odd dance of two adults with valid views of the world. My job is no longer to change your view of the world, it is to present views you might not have considered, particularly of your state in life during a crisis.

My reaction is to jump to your defense, to cloak you in my mantle of “Mama Bear” protection and slay the dragons who bring you to tears. I  know there is no lesson learned  if I carry out those actions. You must fight this battle to attain the strength and wisdom necessary to carry on and confront the next unseen foe. As hard as it is for me, I bite back my urge and just listen, console and commiserate.

And to your father, who was not the recipient of the frantic calls, the garbled fear and tears that set my guts on edge, I wish I could feel the calm you possess. I wish we could be balancing each other’s perceptions. This is the role of a mother, this is the pain of love. It is no greater or less than a father’s love, it is just different.

I must sit with the fury and disappointment for that is the only way through it. Chasing diversions and working on the rest of life will only mask what I feel for the short-term. I choose to absorb it in my way and know there is strength and wisdom to be gained for me. I will write my way through this.

In honor of all the mothers everywhere, regardless of how you came to this role, I hope the singular day a year designated as “Mother’s Day” is one in which you will be honored and more importantly, that you will hold on to your sanity, your soul and your mantle. I salute you as my hero for being who you are and doing your best.

And to my own mother, thank you for holding on while I learned the lessons.

 976d5-001_1_2Barbara Woods Walsh
May 11, 1927 – January 16, 2010

12 comments on “Holding on

  1. Great picture. Great post. Great thoughts

  2. fred says:

    Some excellent thoughts to mull over. I saw multiple examples of this in your mother’s letters to you in your book. She was your biggest fan and supporter, but also gave you the space to learn your own lessons (the hard way). BTW – that’s a great picture of your Mom.

    1. Thank you Fred! I hadn’t thought of the lessons I learned and how similar they were to what my daughter is going through. You are so right, generations follow the same path to learning. Hard to believe my mom was younger in that photo than I am today!

  3. It’s tough to see them go through some of the same things we did but since I had to learn a lot of it the hard way, maybe they do too.

    1. So True Allen. The lessons never seem to change, just the circumstances.

  4. Touring NH says:

    It is hard to watch them struggle and not rescue them every time, but it is balanced (I hope) with the joy we feel when they achieve an accomplishment. As they grow, we have to know we have done our best as a mother and hope they really were listening as they rolled their eyes at us. Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Happy Mother’s Day Laura! Hopefully we are past the eye-rolling stage!!

  5. Nolsie says:

    Beautifully written.

    1. Thank you. Drivel from a rather bruised heart but I’m honored you liked it. Writing helps me make sense of things. M.-

  6. Marie Keates says:

    The hardest thing a mother has to do is stand back and watch while her children are tested and hurt.

    1. Agreed, Marie. I think the scars on my heart are deeper than those imposed on my children. Happy Mother’s Day!!

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