They deliver us life scripts and stories that run in the background of our lives. These storylines may have our mother as a heroine, a villain or falling somewhere in between. We may find ourselves totally satisfied and nourished in the relationship or desperately longing for something more. There were lessons passed down by them, given often from the very best they could offer based on what they knew. And in those quiet moments of reflections we have to face the truth about those very same stories we ourselves continue to rehearse.
I spent a good portion of my life dreading Mother’s Day. It would always arrive with a bag of mixed emotions I had not the stamina, nor the necessary tools to unpack it. I often felt winding down from the day, as if I had endured a grueling wrestling match. One that left me too winded to find celebration in my own motherhood, on a day I had come to view as robbing me of my mother back in 1990.
It was sudden and there were so many things left unresolved. Taunted by all of the conversations we never got the chance to have. The apologies never given. Then five months later, I was holding my own precious daughter in my hands with the huge responsibility of shaping another’s life when I was clueless on how to navigate my own.
Eventually, I made a decision to do less mourning and more honoring of the amazing life my mother had sacrificed so much for me. Her story was incredible, one of a young woman from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago who left her small close knit village to re-imagine a new life for herself in the Big Apple! I was the first of our generation to be born in the United States, and become an heir to the ever elusive “American Dream”, so many had migrated from other countries and cultures to claim rights to. Imagine the disappointment that afflicted my mother upon learning her little girl, the baby out of her four children, who had been provided many advantages my older siblings had not growing up, turned up pregnant at the age of 15. I was repeating a cycle my mother had outworked herself to forget. The idea of me, too, being a teen mother was something she could not comprehend. I am sure she pictured how hard my life would be, relative to the hardships she herself had endured, and outgrown to transform into the woman that refused to let her past define her. I watched that woman evolve as I attended college night classes with her, on her way to realizing her dreams of becoming a nurse.
Now as an adult, and deeply involved in healing work for myself and others, I continuously unearth aspects of my mother within myself. How I am GROWing through my own process of mothering, and being all things to everyone else, and fiercely protecting my right to be all those things, FIRST… to myself! I am also embracing the rawness of parenting which involves an intricate cycle of intuitively knowing when to step aside, so our children can walk out these life lessons designed to build them up. It is a lesson I am fine tuning with my own children. Giving them the grace and space to BE who they are rather than simply living out a version of who I want them to be. Don’t get me wrong, as parents I believe in having our visions for our children, yet we must be yielding to their will and right to being the greatest and highest versions of who they have been called to be. It is our job to guide in love and allow them to ultimately take the path that leads them to their most authentic truth. We are not raising mini-versions of ourselves, instead giving birth to the BRILLIANCE that is uniquely and unapologetically them to be made manifest by the Divine order of Spirit! Being mindful not to allow our own fears of the past to hold them hostage to any one idea. As a mother of two beautifully amazing daughters and a sun in various stages of my life I have held this wisdom close to help me navigate the ferocious terrains of motherhood.
Take a deep breath and release. Fear has no room in this space.
One of my favorite depictions of a mother-daughter dynamic is in the movie, Not Easily Broken, starring Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson and Jennifer Lewis. Taraji and Jennifer play a mother-daughter character by the name of Clarice and Mary. Clarice is caught up in a vicious cycle of her mother, Mary’s failed relationship and misery, which unconsciously gets transferred to Clarice’s life and negatively impacts her marriage. There is a profound line in the movie, where Clarice comes to a powerful realization.
“You taught me how, how to be strong.
In all your lessons of, ‘about how I need to be strong, and proud, and independent’….
You left out some very important things!
How to love?
How to really care about somebody?
How to forgive?”
Strength. Love. Forgiveness.
This scene and dialogue between Taraji’s character, Clarice and her mom always remain as one of the most poignant interactions in the movie to me. It’s where Clarice finally recognizes how her mom’s hurt and betrayal of the past has been playing out in her life and marriage as her own story. In that defining moment, Clarice chooses to begin to tell a new story now in her very own voice! That’s how easy the cycles of generations can sabotage our happiness and well-BEING if we are not vigilant of the narration of our stories.
Can you identify the voice of a familiar story you have been retelling in your own life? Is it yours? The best honoring of our mothers and fathers, and all those we hold near and dear to our hearts, whom we admire most, and want to make proud… is being our BRILLIANT, AUTHENTIC selves without APOLOGY!
Today choose to do just that!
BECOME the Woman you envision yourself to BE!
Now take a moment to just breathe that in….
So It Is
So Be It!