This is a piece I sent out to my circle of women friends 6 years ago on my first Mother’s Day as a mom. It was written by Nancy McBrine Sheehan. As I read it again on this eve of Mother’s Day 2011, I find I am still learning many of these lessons. I realize, it may take me a lifetime, but whenever I touch this path in the slightest, I can feel a beautiful, happy, and strong difference in Luna, and in myself. And so, I commit to you, to Luna, and to my coming child that I will always do my best to bring myself back to this path. I write it here today thereby giving you all permission to hold me to it and so that you too may give yourself permission to live a fulfilling life.
In a society preoccupied with how best to raise a child,
I’m finding a need to mesh what’s best for my children with what’s necessary for a well balanced mother.
I’m recognizing that ceaseless giving translates into giving yourself away.
And, when you give yourself away, you’re not a healthy mother and you’re not a healthy self.
So, now I’m learning to be a woman first and a mother second.
I’m learning to just experience my own emotions without robbing my children of their individual dignity by feeling their emotions too.
I’m learning that a healthy child will have his own set of emotions and characteristics that are his alone.
And, very different from mine.
I’m learning the importance of honest exchanges of feelings because pretenses don’t fool children,
They know their mother better than she knows herself.
I’m learning that no one overcomes her past unless she confronts it.
Otherwise, her children will absorb exactly what she’s attempting to overcome.
I’m learning that words of wisdom fall on deaf ears if my actions contradict my deeds.
Children tend to be better impersonators than listeners.
I’m learning that life is meant to be filled with as much sadness and pain as happiness and pleasure.
And allowing ourselves to feel everything life has to offer is an indicator of fulfillment.
I’m learning that fulfillment can’t be attained through giving myself away
But, through giving to myself and sharing with others,
I’m learning that the best way to teach my children to live a fulfilling life is not by sacrificing my life.
It’s through living a fulfilling life myself.
I’m trying to teach my children that I have a lot to learn
Because I’m learning that letting go of them
Is the best way of holding on.