Sometimes I find myself so intrenched in old behaviors and thought patterns, that it’s a eureka moment when I look at it differently. It reminds me of one of my favorite Grateful Dead lyrics, “Once in while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”
I was thinking about my mother. I was thinking about how this is the second Mother’s Day in my entire life that I have not celebrated this day with her. I wondered at the numbness. We had the typical tumultuous mother daughter relationship. There were flashes of brilliance; times when the bright light of love illuminated our hearts and sparked connection.
Mostly, we argued. Mostly when I was a teenager. It scarred us and left a chasm. Since I moved, we have been able to connect more. She gets why I left. She’s proud of me. She’s happy for me. She deeply misses me. She loves me anyway.
I wanted to write her but I wasn’t sure what to say. I decided to focus on what was right about my mother. What I really liked about her. So I sat and wrote down all the things I liked. It was slow at first, but all the sudden there were flashbacks coming so fast I could barely get them down.
Tears streaming down my face as I wrote, I realized what a great mom I have. I could see how she loved me, how she showed me her love. How she cared for and protected me.
All the years came colliding in my head, dropping salty tears on my keyboard. A young girl in a smart hand-made dress and pig tails. My mother working hard at keeping the house immaculate. Home-made meals on the family table every morning, noon and night. The house always smelled clean. Fresh flowers from her garden sat on counter tops, a delight to the senses.
Years of home-made chocolate cake, cherry pie, Spanish macaroni and cheese; anything I wanted, all my favorites just for the asking. Homemade chicken stock fortified with an egg when I was sick. Crushed ice chips at 2 a.m. when my cough kept us all awake. A loving kiss on my forehead while neatly tucking blankets around me. Numerous trips to the emergency room, overnight hospital stays.
Soon, I had an eight page hand written letter and a very wet face. I felt so many things; regret, love, appreciation, gratitude, joy, love. It was cathartic. I had a new appreciation for my mother and I missed her very much.
It’s amazing what a shift in perspective can do. A gift. Nothing has changed except how I see my mother. By focusing on what is right, it opened up a whole new world for the two of us. And I got to let her know that she is truly loved and appreciated.