The Tie That Binds

Mother’s Day falls on May 13th this year.  It is a day to celebrate all that your mother, or mother figure, has done for you, and, if nothing else, honor her for bringing you into the world.  Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, but we all believe our mothers are special and unique.  All mothers have a special place in their heart for their children, whether they are doctors, teachers, autoworkers, drug addicts, or murderers.  At times it is painful to love children that don’t seem to return that love, but we still do it, because we are moms.

I believe my mother loved all of her four children, but it seemed by the time the last two arrived, she had run out of steam.  Perhaps it was because by then she was a single mother; not all mothers are able to be the strong single mothers we read about in books and see in movies.  Some of them need the help of a partner.  I did not live with my mother for most of my life, but the time I spent with her was filled with love.  I believe when she was with me she was trying to make up for the times she was away from me, and she definitely accomplished that.  I never doubted that my mother loved me.

My mother’s actions affected the way her three daughters would mother their own children.  My oldest sister has four children and her children are her life.  She does everything for them and is always there for them.  Jeanne married into a family where mothers are revered and a vital part of family life.  Her ties to her children are strong and stable and not able to be broken.  I’m sure that somewhere inside Jeanne is trying to imitate the best part of our mother.

My other sister spent most of her life with my grandmother.  At that time my grandmother was old and sick, but she did her best.  Grandma always prepared meals, kept the house clean, and had the laundry done.  All of Mary’s practical needs were well taken care of, but her emotional needs were not met in the way that a mother would.  When Mary became a mother, she mothered in the way that she had learned to from her strongest role model, our grandmother.  Her children were always taken care of, meals were on time and nutritious, her house was immaculate, laundry was done, and she was there for her children’s physical needs, but her ties to her children were weak and frail as she was not able to meet their emotional needs.  Both children left home early. Her son basically disappeared, while her daughter became estranged from her.

Since my mother was not constant or stable part of my life I tended to hang on to people just a bit too tightly, and particularly my only child.  My fear was that I would lose my child, so my tie to her was thick and strong and weighed down our relationship.  My daughter became the center of my world, and little did I know this is not always a good thing.  Being the centre of someone’s world, especially your mother can cause you to believe you are the centre of everyone’s world.  Unfortunately, this can limit a person’s ability to see their own, and other people’s, shortcomings, which eventually restricts a person’s ability to emphasize with others.  In time, the heavy tie with my child snapped, causing an insurmountable divide between us.

As mothers we can only hope that we have children who will at some point in their lives have the capacity to appreciate and understand the many variations of the all too important “tie that binds.”