"My Mother was a saint."
I have heard this spoken by many a person in as many circumstances over the years. Those of us lucky enough to have good moms tend to aggrandize them. We place them on pedestals. We cultivate our lives around our mothers' mythical beauty and love. We choose mates that reflect the positive qualities of our mothers. Then, after we begin the journey that is parenthood, we try to instill those qualities that set our mothers apart into our children. My Mother is no saint. She's something far beyond sainthood.
My earliest memories of my childhood involve my Mother singing to me. She was always singing. I think that is what has always given me the belief that, in the beginning, she was happy. I know she loved me, and I know that she loved being my Mommy. Then something got broken. My memories are vague, and I find it impossible to maintain chronological order of the events, but my Mom went from being a happy married mother of me to being caught in a downward spiral not of her own making. Without delineating all of the details, my mom got very ill and she left my father. All at the same time. I hope someday that she chooses to either tell the story, or to tell me so that I can write it, because it is the amazing tale of a woman who became very lost and then clawed her way up from the very depths of hell to live a good life and continue being a great Mother. However, this is not my story to tell, it is hers. Suffice it to say that I spent years bouncing between my Mother and my Father and living a constant life of worry that my Mom would never be my Mom again. In the end through the help of one great doctor and the support of My Pa-Pa and Ma-Ma and all of Mom's family, I got my Mom back. She was not unscathed, but she was my Mom, and from that point on she re assumed the responsibility of saving my life over and over again.
My Mother has always felt guilt about that part of her life. I think that she feels that she let me down. Today of all days, it is important for me, as my Mother's only son, to correct that notion. I know that she wanted to be there all of those times that she couldn't be. I also know that for every minute she spent away from me there have been countless times since that she has been exactly where she needed to be. My Mom would do anything in her power to make my life even one iota better than it is. That, however isn't her greatest gift. The greatest gift that my Mother has ever given me is the knowledge that, as a parent, one doesn't have to be perfect. As a parent, one simply needs to be present. As parents, if we just give our kids the knowledge that we are there for them one hundred percent, then they will know that they are never truly alone. As my mother gave that gift to me, I give it to my children in the hopes that they will, in turn, give it to theirs. And that is my little part of making the world a better place.
My Mother didn't need to be a saint because she's my Mom. That is ever so much more important.