Today was weird. For the first time, I was wished a happy Mother’s Day by several people, even though the child I will mother hasn’t actually come yet. I have a strange relationship with Mother’s Day. My own mother has never felt further away, either emotionally or geographically. You see, my parents divorced when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and when I was 11 we (my dad had sole custody by then) emigrated to SA. My relationship with my mother, which was never especially good (even as a small child I saw her as extremely selfish and difficult to deal with) completely fell apart. We didn’t speak for several years, and when we did eventually make contact again, it’s always been iffy to the point of non-existent.
As of now, we’ve not spoken in over a year (possibly 2?). I even forgot to invite her to our wedding a few years ago. She just doesn’t feature in my life, which I suppose, on reflection should be a really sad thing, but in reality it’s just the way life is. My relationship with my dad is not much better (is there any wonder I’ve always been nervous about parenthood with these examples?!) It’s just been deteriorating for much longer.
I have, however, often loved my friends’ moms. They seem like lovely souls, doling out love to everyone who passes by. I was in boarding school, which meant any weekends we wanted to spend away from the boarding house were, by nature, with someone else’s family. That was always fine by me – I seemed to get along with parents in a way that my friends (impatient teenagers) just didn’t. I loved seeing moms dealing with daughters, dads dealing with sons – they always seemed to be such great friends.
As a teenager in boarding school, and later throughout most of my adult life, I’ve always been a mothering type. I care for my friends the way most people care for their families. I used to tuck my sister and her friends in at night in the boarding house, and bring them little treats to make tough weeks lighter. When a colleague has forgotten lunch, I’ll often share my own with them, so they don’t go without. I’ve always joked that I’ll mother anything that moves.
So as I take my first steps into parenthood and motherhood in just a few short weeks, I wish with every fervent hope in my being, that my parenting journey will be different from that my parents had. They say you always turn into your parents, but I really, really, really hope I never turn into mine. I hope that my own history, my own personality and the way that I want to be as a mother wins out over whatever nature has placed inside of me or created in my early years. I hope to be the mother I saw in my friends families, not my own.