Before I go much further let me explain where I am coming from. Lately I have spoken with or heard about mothers with grown children who blame their children for their own unhappiness. ("What did I do to deserve this? He's ungrateful and not worthy to be my son.") There have also been stories in the newspaper about a mother who killed herself and her children. I do not mean to be unjustly critical. I understand that things like despair and post-partum depression are very, very real. I do not pretend to be a perfect mother. I suffered from depression after my daughter was born. I know what isolation and loneliness feel like. I get things wrong ALL THE TIME. If you meet my kids twenty years from now they might be in jail or maybe they will refuse talk to me in spite of all the food I fixed them growing up (though I hope not). I don't have all the answers. But maybe I can start asking the right questions.
We are now officially in Holy Week and I am so totally unprepared it isn't even funny. I'm not just talking about Easter baskets for the kids and preparing the meal for the extended family, either. When I started this blog I imagined that it would be a means of keeping me faithful in my prayer life. All that I can say is: ha ha HAHAHA!! I feel that I've totally missed out on the spiritual preparations for the most holy day of the liturgical calendar. How could I let this happen? Have I been using my time more wisely? Have I been practicing what I preach and invited Jesus into my daily routine? I honestly don't know. How can I tell? I can't even keep track of the days!
I know that motherhood feels like being swept away by the current. (Some days it feel like being dragged down by the undertow.) So my question is how can we as moms make sure we like where we end up 20 years from now? Will our children want to be part of our lives or will they look upon us with fear or disgust? Because, Ladies, our future begin now.
Our future begins now. What are we working towards? Or, to put it another way, what sort of person would we like to be when we meet Jesus face to face? This is important because the greatest, most defining moments in our lives are small ones that go unnoticed. Do we support one another or do we think we're being clever by making a snide comment? Do we raise up our children or are we too busy "making them mind" and "putting them in their place"? Are we supportive of one another or are we too busy trying to compete? Because, Ladies, the woman who complained that her son won't talk to her calls herself a "good mother". The mother who killed herself and her children was considered by many to be a "good mother" who "just got overwhelmed". We all have our moments when we screw up or behave in a totally selfish manner. We're human. So how do we keep it from being who we are?
Maybe we should stop worrying about being a "good mother" (as described by a secular, consumer society) and become a loving mother instead. A loving mother will look for what is best for her children instead of trying to look like the best mother. A loving mother will look for a balance in her own life so she can care for others. A loving mother will tell her children 'no'. A loving mother will help another woman in need instead of judging her. A loving mother will let other mothers know that they are not alone in their task and will listen with compassion.
Ladies, the gift of Lent is being able to prepare to meet the Lord. The gift of Easter is the knowledge of God's love for us and the salvation of our souls through the birth, death and ressurection of Jesus Christ.
When it is our turn to meet Jesus He will ask us if we loved one another - especially the sweet souls that were placed in our care. Because, Ladies, God is Love. When we act with love (Caritas!) we introduce God into the lives of our children and those we meet. Isn't that what we are called to do?
Our future begins now and our most defining moments are small and go unnoticed. Practice at being loving mother. Let the rest go. And hopefully we will, through the grace of God and the friendship of others, be able to cope and even succeed. Hopefully our children will see beyond our faults and respond to our love for them.
May God bless you during this most holy week.