Celebrating Mother’s Day is fun, and some of you are lucky enough to have your moms with you still.
Several years ago, I gave a seminar on mothers and their relationship with their children, especially their daughters. However, this works just fine with sons as well.
I made the suggestion to do a little research on their mothers, by interviewing them and others in their world who knew them growing up. You can do this if she is gone or if you were raised by another woman, so it works for both. Of course always be respectful of others privacy and boundaries. Do no harm.
Let’s find out who she is as a woman. Instead of seeing this woman as our mother, of whom we require and need so much. This means finding out where she grew up, and who really raised her. Research her maternal and paternal grandparents and their influence on her thinking. What part did education play in this family? Others’ philosophies and values helped shaped her sense of self. Ask about meal time and the family friends and activities. Friends who knew her growing up can help with her dreams and ambitions. What were mother and grandmother like and see what you can find out about their background. They were quite an influence.
It is important to call her by her first name during this exercise because it draws you away from seeing her as your mother and your needs. You don’t have to when you are with her, of course. The end result is to find out what this wondrous woman dreamed, endured, triumphed over and how these made her who she is.
We learn that she is a whole person, not there just for us.
We can lose a lot of blame, ridicule and negative feelings about some things if we realize her history before we were even on the scene. How special we think we are! But maturity comes when we see our parents as persons with histories and stories.
Some of us don’t have our mothers anymore, but we can still do a lot to understand them better. It helps us to correct things we were judgmental about and reinforce the great things this person taught us along the way. Some of it was so subtle, we barely noticed, but now we know what an influence this person had on us. We can help the next generation understand more as well.
A few questions can teach us a lot about the person who gave us life. Have fun, and don’t forget to be kind.
Nedda Simon of rural Princeton can be reached at email@example.com.