Written by [Name Witheld]
When do you stop thinking of your mum as your everything?
I reckon mine happened around the age of 14.
I used to think that my mum was incredible (she was incredible and still is) but at some point along the mother-daughter timeline, I began to recognise her flaws and allowed them to impact my overall view of who she was to me, and to the world. She ceased to be the intelligent, creative, fair human being I had always experienced and instead became ‘just mum’, difficult, inattentive and dismissive.
Being asked to write this article got me thinking about the fact that her character didn’t change. As I matured, I learned more and more about the person who had birthed me. What I already knew became saturated with additional detail as I got to really know my mum, the-adult-and-all-together-other-person-outside-of-being-a-parent-to-me-and-my-siblings. My child’s view saw only the good, even when I had been in trouble or when I felt hard done by. She was my world and the overwhelming feeling was always deep love and a desire to be near her.
That was then. Reflecting on what she means to me now, (sat forcing myself to consider her in the context of our relationship for this article), I realised that she is all of the things I thought she was and more but, she is no longer my super woman.
That thought could be an unsettling one but it's not. I'd wanted her to fulfil that role in adulthood - the one she’d filled when I was a child - saving me, keeping me safe, providing all I needed. However, in my consideration for this piece, I thought about how unfair the superwoman label had been and about the fact that that role for her was always finite. Seeing her through the eyes of a child gave me something wonderful: a pure and non-judgemental perspective, but it was limited. Considering her as a grown up gave me something better: an appreciation for how hard living up to my expectations had been.
We all have people around us who both love and expect something from us that may be unreasonable or unrealistic. Not living up to those expectations doesn't make us any less remarkable or any less us.
My mum taught me that growth is perhaps the biggest tool we have in our arsenal for living life. In my formative years, whilst I lived and loved protected by her, she was teaching me how to be my own super woman. She instilled everything I would need to win the game.
Mum, thanks for the lessons and the love. I understand that you were you long before you even thought about the idea of me. If being a mother to us has ever left you wondering why you sacrificed all you did, I want you to know, it was worth it. I recognise, acknowledge and appreciate you. You mean the world to me and although you may not see the same admiration when I look at you today, as I showed back then, it isn't any less - it’s just infinitely better managed. You mean more than I can say, and you always will.
I love you!