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Sarah Josephine “Jo” Long Scarbrough, pictured with her granddaughters, Elise and Celeste.
By Denise Nelson
On this Mother’s Day we give thanks for mothers – all mothers, birth mothers and those that step willingly into that role. The older I get the more I appreciate my Mother. She wanted better for me than she had, and she gave that to me.
The first moment of deep appreciation I had for my Mom was when my first child was born. In the middle of doing all the things one does for a newborn I had a moment where I pictured my Mom as a young woman doing all that for me, too. The thought of me helpless and her wanting to attend to my every need softened my heart towards her in a way that it probably hadn’t been since I was a young child. My Mother was with me at that time, and she knew exactly when to step in and rescue my crying baby from me like only a mother could.
My mother and her sister and brothers worked hard as children; it was normal for that time and place. They worked in the fields, and they worked in the house; it was necessary and unquestioned. My mother did the best she could to give my brother and me the gift of her version of an ideal childhood. And she did. We were mostly free to play and roam the neighborhood at our leisure. We had opportunities to play sports and pursue other interests.
It was fun, and it was our normal. At the time I didn’t know that we were living part of her dream. I followed in her footsteps, wanting to give my kids something different, something better. And like my Mother I had some successes and some failures.
Giving someone something that you don’t fully understand is always a risk. But one we mothers will keep on taking. We must! And we must give it knowing that at certain times our children will see we failed them. Part of this gift is accepting imperfection, accepting our humanity.
I love my mother more than words for taking that risk. Recognizing this has helped me to appreciate and forgive myself my own shortcomings as a mother. And that in itself helped me be a better mother and a better daughter.
We give our kids keys to their futures forged in the imperfect flames of our lives. These keys set them on their own journey. These keys have not only the power to let them go, but the power to bring them home, to themselves and to us. With love for my Mom and all brave mothers all over the world.