By MaryHelen Swanson, editor—
There are so many things you can’t tell children about being a mother, not even your daughters. And especially I think not your sons. I know they wouldn’t believe you anyway.
You say to your daughters, “you’ll understand when you are a mother yourself,” but you might as well be talking to a kitten.
And as I don’t have sons, I’m not exactly sure how you ever get boys to understand how a mother really feels.
You can be a role model, a mentor even. You can be idolized and looked up to… until about age 8. And then your children start to get wise.
There’s no fooling children who have wisdom beyond their cute faces and mischievous smiles.
We know that when they reach age 12, a mother knows nothing, feels nothing and can offer no opinion that is worth listening to by a self-awakening tween.
Oftentimes some painful years ensue. And many times a struggle, especially between mothers and daughters, causes heartache and unhappiness in a home.
Somewhere in early to mid-teens sons seem to lose the infatuation with mom and look at her as merely a source of after school snacks and clean pajamas and a fan base in the bleachers.
There are many precious moments mothers keep hidden in their hearts. Some of them are painful, not because they physically hurt, but because you wish you could have done something to change the course of action.
One such heartrending moment happened 40 years ago when my oldest came home from kindergarten to an empty house. For some reason I had to be in town at the time she would be let off the bus around lunchtime. We had an understanding that she was to be picked up at school. But she had gotten on the bus only to find an empty house when she opened the door.
So she decided to make herself lunch, unaware that mom would be home in less than five minutes. When I arrived, I found a little girl in tears and a pan of cream of mushroom soup being poured down the kitchen sink. She said, amid the sobs, that it didn’t look like the soup I made.
It turns out she had added a can of water (which was perfectly OK) and I usually added milk. I felt so bad that this little girl, trying to be so grown up, had failed herself.
There were many times when I have felt helpless to assist one of my daughters in her walk to womanhood, and I still do as they journey through life.
I know that these moments that are out of your control help to build your children’s character, but they still leave mom with a heavy heart.
How do you explain this to your children? How, even as they are grown, do you help them understand that they too will have these moments?
Mothers can hide feelings, we get good at that. But memories stored in the chambers of our hearts don’t slip away easily.
As much as I wish I had been there that day to put milk in the soup, so too do I wish I could ease life’s painful moments for my adult children.
How do you ever tell children how a mother feels? I can’t say that I really know that answer.
But Sunday is the day to remember the woman whose heart is full of those memories, who finds you to be so special she would cry secretly for your happiness. Please don’t forget her. I believe, just like mom would say, “someday you’ll understand.”
Happy Mother’s Day!