With Mother’s Day only two weeks away I decided to share some of my mother’s words of encouragement to me. My mother has always been an eloquent speaker and writer but this particular letter was to me for my graduation. She took out an ad in the back of the yearbook with the following words:
“When you were small I felt there was so much I wanted to teach you of what I had already learned. I wanted to protect you…to spare you much of the pain in this world but to open your eyes to all the wonders, all the experiences that would deepen and enrich your life. But instead I became the student…you taught me.
My vision of the kind of mother I wanted to be and the kind of child I thought you should be was shattered, and out of the ashes was resurrected much more than even I could have imagined. I began with metered rhyme and we ended with free verse. I began with choreographed dance composition and you showed me an impromptu dance from the heart. When the steps are not known one can dance to rhythms that the contrived and controlled may never hear or feel. The dream I wanted dissolved, and now when I look back I see what I gave up was one-dimensional and black and white. If love were a color then everything was pale before the first hour that I looked upon your face but I had to give it all away in the end to what you believed to be real. It was your dreams to be realized, not mine.
I never spared you much of your pain but at times watched you fall, almost crumble, but then pick yourself up and put it all together again, with a smile and more than once. You made it clear that I couldn’t solve your problems but could be a light and a guide along the way. We grow up in our own way and time. There are no such things as perfect parents or a perfect child. We are humans struggling to find meaning in our lives and through the struggle we become something a little more than human. So spread your wings, the metamorphosis has begun.
Fly to meet your own dreams. Find new heights and sometimes new depths but always know there will be a resting place in my heart for you, my child. Thank you for these things, that without you in my life I would never have learned. I LOVE YOU!”
These words have stuck with me for my entire life. How many of us are trapped in a black and white world, always trying to do the “right” thing rather than what is right for us? How many people end their lives in their darkest hour, never knowing they can build themselves and their lives back up? Most importantly, how many have a mother who loves and accepts them enough to let them find their own happiness, dance to their own music, and live a life of brilliant colors?
What’s the most valuable piece of advice your mother ever gave you?