26 April 2015

The Wisdom and Grace of a Mother

They say that children are the path of salvation for their parents; that through the sacrifices of parenthood, mothers and fathers become saints. 

My mom isn't like most moms, I think. It's not her fault, mostly... she never had anyone in her own life be a real mother to her, and she didn't have my dad around to help her become a parent either. But it sure is hard to be a daughter to someone who doesn't know how to be a mother... even 25 years later. 

Everyone knows that parents sacrifice for their children. In that respect, she's done her fair share and more for me. Lord knows that is true. She's worked hard to provide me with the life she wanted me to have, and I grew up with opportunities that a lot of kids couldn't even dream of. 

Every time I do something she disapproves of or (more often than not) don't do something that she wants me to do (could be anything as simple as not folding a load of laundry, to something more weighty like going away to college), I hear about all the sacrifices she made for me. She often calls me ungrateful, and rightly so, I am... aren't all children? None of us truly knows how much our parents do for us, how much they love us, and how much they give up for us. But isn't that the point? We can't know until we're parents ourselves, I think. 

Before I came along, she was a bartender, drove a porsche, and even well into her thirties, tried to live the glory days of the 70's. She didn't have any reason to grow up until I came along. I was completely unexpected (her doctor told her she'd never have children due to her severe case of endometriosis) and in an instant her life changed. 

Then I grow up to become a Catholic missionary, and all of a sudden all of the sacrifices she'd made weren't enough... on top of everything I wanted her to be holy. That's a lot to ask.

When I think of myself as a mother, I hope I can take some of her good qualities: her work ethic, her drive, her perseverance. And I hope I can leave others behind: her insistence on getting her way, her stubbornness. I also pray that I will have a partner in parenthood who supports me and loves me, so that I can be free to love our children and sacrifice for them, without the need for them to understand the weight of those sacrifices. It is surely too difficult and too important a task to do alone. 

St. Margaret of Cortona, patroness of single mothers, pray for us. 

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