What if the world were well-mothered?
It's no secret that I love Super Soul Sunday, because Oprah (and because it has the word "soul" in the title). There is one episode where she interviewed Marianne Williamson; I don't remember the whole talk but this one moment has stuck with me for years. Marianne said, "You know when you've met a woman who was well-mothered."
This is me. I was well-mothered.
I would hold onto this until last year when it came full circle.
Sometimes I think we get so caught up in sharing our wounds that we forget to give some love to where our strengths come from. The parts of us that learn how to be resilient, how to love others, how to share and be generous, the part of us that sees good in others, the part of us that longs to express our truth, and the part of us that was believed in. For me, this person is my mom.
And it's something I took for granted most of my life. She's always loved me wholeheartedly, so I've never known a life without her compassion and kindness in my corner. We tend to ignore the things we've never had to live without.
How often do you take for granted that you can take a deep breath? It's always there. Even right now as you're reading this you're breathing. In fact, pause and take a deep breath. Because you can!
And then January 2016 happened. (Don't fret, this has a happy ending)
I got a call from my mom. She started the conversation with, "I don't want you to be scared, but..."
You know it's going to be a call you need to take sitting down when there's a "but" in there. And I did.
She would share that she found a lump.
That lump would turn out to be a tumor.
That tumor would turn out to have spread.
And in Cancerland, this is what we call stage IV cancer.
For the next nine months, I would watch my mom deteriorate. I would watch her retreat from her life because cancer is painful and exhausting and confusing. She no longer felt like herself and she didn't trust her body. She would move from watching TV to bed and back. I watched as well-intended friends and family would put their discomfort of my mom's cancers above the reality of living it. I would watch as her paint brushes and books collected dust.
During the week I was growing my business, having what would be my most successful year to date in my work - and on the weekends I was going home to witness what felt like the inevitable.
She was dying.
There really are no words for this. And I wasn't living it from in her skin. But I watched it. And there was nothing I could do. No amount of cleaning the house, baking banana bread, or snuggling my mama would eradicate her cancer. She knew this and I knew this. But it didn't keep me from trying.
Fast forward nine months and one particular visit home. I needed to blow off some steam. I was holding it all together but I wasn't doing a very good job. I felt guilty for being tired of this routine and I felt bad for not being able to help. After several glasses of wine, I tip-toed home hoping to not be found out...because no adult, no matter how old, wants to be caught wasted in her parents' home. ;)
And of course, everybody was awake.
I took the opportunity in my raw state to crawl into bed with my mom and cry. And cry. The ugly kind of cry that doesn't make any sense but makes you feel so much better for being honest in how awful whatever it was that was happening, was happening.
And my mom comforted me. ME. She rubbed my back and told me it would be okay. That she hated this too but wasn't going anywhere. She mothered me. In her darkest day, she mothered me.
I stumbled out, and like any good father whose daughter has had too much to drink, my dad made me a bowl of pasta. I sat down to eat and wish this night would end when my mom came out of her room smiling. My brother, finding much amusement in my actions, turned to my mom and said, "What's changed?"
And she replied, "I got to be the mama."
In that moment I realized that my mother's purpose and mine aren't too different. That she lives her bliss by mothering well. And I'm following my bliss because I was mothered well. My mom doesn't need me to fix her. Because I can't. She needs to remember who she is and what she's living for. In that moment she healed a little, and so did I.
It got me thinking about our world today and how powerful it would be if it were mothered well. If it were nurtured, comforted, and believed in. If it were given room to fly and a home to come back to when nothing works. If it were a place that was unconditionally loved and protected but not stifled. If it could express itself fully and be loved even when things went awry.
If it were mothered well.
So on this mother's day, I invite you to not only extend some gratitude to the men and women in your life who have mothered you well but to those that you mother.
To the people that you in believe in unconditionally and who you choose to see fully. You never know who you've allowed to soar - and don't you agree that what the world needs now is more of us who feel they can fly?