Most mornings it’s a struggle to get my teen out of bed and ready for school. By all accounts he’s a typical 16 year old who seems to know it all, always has an excuse when he’s caught playing video games instead of doing homework and why five more minutes are always necessary. But he also loves hard. Affectionate and thoughtful, he cares deeply about his loved ones.
As a mom, I always feel I can do better. When I’ve had enough it’s never pretty. There’s a guilt that gnaws at my chest when I lose my cool. But there are moments, like today, when I see the boy before me taking our dog for a walk and then helping me make pancakes. These moments are a glimpse of the future. It means one day he will become an exceptional man with a strong moral compass and an open heart.
I was an active kid myself who no doubt contributed to my mother’s heart burns. Our relationship was challenging as I was growing up. I can only image how hard it was for her to come from another country and see her daughter embrace the world without fear and complete independence. As a catholic Latin mom, that could not have been easy.
My mother taught me perseverance and grit. She left a flourishing educator career in Lima to give my sister and me a chance to be whatever we wanted without obstacles. She put ego aside to make muffins at a coffee shop. Later, she juggled raising two teen daughters with my father, full time work and attending night school so she could return to a classroom one day and teach.
She worried a lot too. She worried about my sister. She worried about me. She worried about our futures, knowing the world is far from pretty and it could leave marks. We didn’t come out unscathed but my mom, along with my dad, helped to raise two strong women with ambition and deep moral values. We are far from perfect but we learned about the importance of family and of surrounding ourselves with genuine people.
My sisters are also mothers. It’s now us who worry. We worry about our kids. We worry about our aging parents. We worry about the uncertainty of the future before us. We also absorb every second of our chaotic lives watching our kids grow up and seeing glimpses of who they will become.
One day, my son will be a man. He too will think back on days like today when I made him pancakes. He will remember his mum, half dressed in pajama shorts and a blouse, trying to flip pancakes while shouting at him to hurry up. These messy moments will be what he remembers most and he’ll lean in to all the love that radiated from these encounters.
Motherhood is messy, stressful and emotional because it is all rooted in love. And that’s all we can do, love unconditionally today and always.
Happy Mother’s Day.