“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”
― N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Bear with me for a moment. I’m going to open the seams on motherhood on this, my first Mother’s Day as a mother. Dream’s mother, or Ma-ma–she calls me this in the midst of a tear-filled adorable tirade against Mr. Sandman, and when in her quest to discover the parameters outside my lap, her head meets the hard surface of the floor or a table. The mother in me bears that fall, swallows the fear that I don’t want to share with her and coaxes her back to her own two feet.
This is something that happened very naturally. Mothering. Instinctively. I feel uncertain ten thousand ways everyday about myself but I never question myself as a mother. Ever. I actually wish I had the same certainty for myself in my own life. There must be some biological trigger once your child is born. I have no other way to explain why I push forward when I’m tired and empty. No way to define the feeling that comes over me when Dream rolls over with a genuine smile every morning. Her eyes say, “I knew you would be here.” Her chattering, though unintelligible, says, “I trust you.” Her taking a breath every morning is God saying, “I love you.”
In all the essential ways Dream was a planned child. I very much wanted her, even when I was unaware of this. I knew her in the places that recognized her once she was here. I saw her in secret dreams and translated those secret languages. I spoke her into possibility, into existence. That’s why it feels as if she’s always been here–because she has. I only had to open up to receive the gift that she is.
A great deal of my teenage years and twenties were wasted thinking had I had a different childhood things would be different. You know things, right? I’d be happier, healthier, wealthier, prettier, and such. If I had different parents I’d be Mrs. so-and-so and live at such-and-such lane, driving a blah blah. It’s true that having different parents would have meant a completely different life. But I have mine; and they have me. Perfection is unattainable most especially in parenting.
The transformation from child to child who becomes a parent is astoundingly invisible. I now understand the words: I did my best. I still hold adults accountable for their actions, but I am willing to extend compassion where before I had none. You would give everything plus your life to make your child’s world beautiful. I mean so in an artistic way, but also in a practical way. There was a small part of me that always felt unmothered; that felt very ugly to me. It’s ugly feeling as though you didn’t receive something that rightfully belonged to you. It’s sad, sometimes oppressive. But the beautiful part of becoming a mother is that you can heal the little girl who didn’t get all that she deserved by mothering your child–imperfectly, of course.
I don’t search for replacement (better) mothers anymore (I used to do that and had really beautiful women be mother-like in the moments that I needed them). That part of myself is healed. Now I build relationships with women to cushion this journey instead of leaning on them to be pulled along.
I am my own best thing.
I do hope that I instill all the courage and love that will help Dream along in life but if I fail a little, I hope there are women who will be mother-like to her when and if she needs it.
I won’t need any Mother’s Day cards or gifts, Dream is everything. She is enough.