Over the course of the past several weeks, it has occurred to me that my mother took the easy way out. She quit. She left me when I was 9, then she turned around 21 years later and did the same thing to my sister. And although I never gave up the frustrating pursuit of being mothered by her, it was to no avail. It was too late. Cancer took over her body. She left me for the final time within a matter of months. I was only 32. Forever gone, her death only reopened the wounds of abandonment.
I missed her. I needed her. But I came to realize I didn’t miss the relationship, or lack thereof, of mother and child. I missed what she never was, and now, never would be. I missed the memories we didn’t create, and I missed the memories that would never be created.
She took the easy way out. Not once, not twice, but three times. She just quit.
I became a mother in my early 20’s. My expectant condition became my identity. Questions. Choices. Feel pain while giving birth or no thanks, I’ll take the drugs. Boy or Girl? Not my decision…that had been decided before I knew my body was carrying precious cargo. Before stretchmarks and hemorrhoids. No one told me how much contractions HURT. That bladder control would no longer exist when sneezing, laughing, crying, walking or talking.
No one told me those things because the good not only outweighs the bad, it overshadows it. Childbirth was painful, but somehow, when it was over, it was quickly forgotten and replaced by love I never knew existed. Only a mother can gaze at her newborn baby and see beauty through the sticky remains of placenta.
In a matter of seconds, I had become a mother. A flood of passion and pride and feelings that could not be contained were released through my tears. But now a new ache. Heartache. Loving my baby so much my heart hurt, I wondered how my mother could seemingly stop loving me. How could my mother leave me? Why was it so easy for her to walk away?
My mother may have taken the easy way out, but I wasn’t the only one who was denied memories – she was. Because being a mother is a job that sometimes just makes you want to turn in your “mommy badge.” Not just when they’re toddlers, preteens, or even teenagers. Choosing to remain committed, be committed, and LOVE your child, even when it hurts so bad you can’t breathe.
During those times, it can only be God who breathes for us.