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.