The amount of change and growth we each see throughout our lives is truly baffling. We move to a new location, we change jobs, we start new relationships, we end toxic ones, we find ourselves, we discover new hobbies and give up old ones. Life is full of alteration with few constants. The one constantly reliable portion of my life has been my relationship with my mother. As Mother’s Day approaches, I love thinking back on all the memories I have with my mom, whether they be good or bad. My mom has helped me grow past every difficult decision and use every happy situation to thrive as an individual. She’s encouraged me through unfortunate situations and helped me see the positives no matter how deep in negativity I find myself. My mom is truly an incredible woman. She has beautifully raised four children, two adopted with special needs and one with severe anxiety. She has ferociously battled breast cancer as well as other health problems. My mom has fought for her marriage since that day she said “I do” back in 1999. She puts others first always, even when she knows she shouldn’t, she provides more love for others than she ever has for herself. She’s selfless, kind, encouraging and she believes in me more than I ever could believe in myself.
My mom is the youngest of five children. She grew up in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has gained her recognizable strength from that environment. Her brother died of a brain tumor when she was very young, causing her to build up that courage and responsibility even more at such an immature age. My mom is a professor at a university here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She approaches her teaching role with grace, elegance, understanding, inclusivity, and support, all aspects taken from her parenting skills. She creates a sense of personability between herself and her students, making sure they understand they are not alone as they move forward with the stresses of college. Within the past year of living at home during the pandemic, I have been able to understand her responsibilities and the emotional toll behind working as hard as she does. It’s truly inspiring to see someone I respect so much not only as my mom, but as an individual, work so hard not only in her career but as a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman, and a role model.
My mother is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. My two younger sisters, both adopted with special needs, have needed much more emotional support than anticipated throughout their growing years. She has worked with them as well as counselors, teachers, therapists, doctors to make sure they are receiving the proper amount of support and acknowledgement when it comes to their disabilities. I’ll never be able to understand the amount of weight on her shoulders. Having to watch your children struggle day after day without knowing how you as a mother can help them has to be incredibly draining. All while maintaining a full time job, helping my dad with his own business, and keeping us all safe, she continues to make time for me and my dreams.
Being the oldest daughter, I have always felt a different kind of connection with my mom than my sisters. Before me, my parents had multiple miscarriages, so from the beginning of my life, I’ve always felt a strong connection to my mom and dad, knowing how much they love me, care for me, and believe in me. They believed in me before I was even on this earth. That is such an overwhelming feeling. My mom believed in me before I believed in anything. They fight for me, for my dreams, for my wishes. They encourage me to keep working hard even when I’m exhausted mentally or physically. They know my potential. My mom shows me everyday what it’s like to be a strong-willed, powerful woman who’s not afraid of the world. Just being able to look at my mom and think back on how much she’s done for me and my family is so motivating to me as a woman. She shows me everyday that having a career, having a family and having self love are all equally important as the other. Everything that she’s gone through as an individual encourages me to believe in myself and my abilities because if she can do it and still be as strong as she is today, then I can do it. Through every heartbreak, through every rejection, through every growth, she has been there, pushing me, supporting me, believing in me more than I could ever believe in myself.
Now I’m definitely not one to sit back and pretend that every relationship doesn’t have its moments of negativity. I’m sure you and your mom have moments of aggression, misunderstanding or miscommunication. This is common in any kind of relationship, personal or professional. But what makes a relationship so powerful is being able to talk through those moments of misunderstanding and reconnect. My mom has always taught me to be open about how you’re feeling because without open communication, the conflict will go unresolved.
This year, I’ve been able to watch my mom tackle so many difficult events, events that would make any normal person break. Both her parents dying within the span of two months, her daughter going through emotional turmoil, her job draining her emotionally day after day, losing any sense of individuality as she finds her home full again, etc. I have gained so much respect and appreciation for my mom this year. Not just as my mother but as a human being. She has truly been through so much this year and she has not broken. She’s stayed strong for me, for my sisters, for my dad, for her siblings. She didn’t have to. She could’ve broken down and we would’ve been there to help her put the pieces together, but she didn’t. She put others before herself. I feel while I’ve been home again after being at college for almost a year, I gained a newfound perspective on how much my mom truly goes through on a daily basis. Caring for another human is not easy, let alone five other humans. I feel this understanding has truly strengthened our relationship. When I move toward individuality again, our relationship will be stronger than ever. I’ll have a new understanding of her daily life and be able to understand her way of life. Not only have I gained a new perspective on her life, but she has gained a new look on mine. She understands my romantic relationship on a new level, she understands my mental health, she understands my life goals, career wise and personally. She truly knows me and I can’t wait to see where our relationship continues to grow in the future.
This year held so much angst for everyone, especially mothers. Mothers who lost a child, mothers who gained a child’s presence again, their lives changed. Acknowledge that this mother’s day. Acknowledge that your mom’s life was changed too. We didn’t just lose our sense of individuality, their child came home from college. As we approach Mother’s Day 2021, make your appreciation for your mom known to her. Think back on positive memories, difficult moments that she supported you through and make sure she knows how grateful you are to have her in your life. Mothers don’t hear thank you enough. So, go get her that bouquet of flowers, or that new outfit, write her a heartfelt thank you or make her breakfast. Make that day about her because she’s spent most of her life making her days about you. She’s worth it.