June 16, 2014
I believe that every life has a purpose. I am lucky, I know mine.
Growing up, I only ever wanted to be a mother and a teacher. When asked why I wanted to be a teacher, my answer was always the same, “Because I know I will be good at it.” Sounds kinda conceited, I grant you. However, everyone out there knows they are good at something, and saying so just makes them honest, not conceited. Oddly enough, no one ever asked me why I wanted to be a mom. I guess people just assume all females want to be mothers, but that’s another story. Although, if anyone had ever asked, my answer would have been the same, “Because I know I will be good at it.” As it turns out, I now have a different answer.
I reflect quite a bit on my being a teacher, but not so much on my being a mother. I guess I figure since my children are all grown and gone, there really is no reason to reflect. What will it change? I was either a good mom or I wasn’t. At least that is what I used to believe. Now however, I know that my being a good mother is still up for grabs, it is something that takes a lifetime to perfect.
By the time I was 47, all of my children were grown and living on their own. At first I was devastated. In fact, I had a complete and total mental breakdown, complete with thoughts of suicide, major depression, and yes, even hospitalization. I was in the deepest, darkest hole I had ever been in and I was unsure I would ever get out. One year of intense therapy turned my life, and my thinking, around.
Being a mother is exactly like being a teacher. Children, just as students, do not belong to me, I am only here to guide them. As a mother, I am responsible for teaching my children how to navigate their way through life. In the end, I saw it as my duty to raise my children to be kind, upstanding, productive members of society. The way I chose to accomplish this was to teach them respect: respect for themselves, respect for their bodies, respect for others, respect for their community, respect for Mother Earth, etc. And I tried to teach by example; I tried to be a good role model. Now, mind you, I was not always successful at the good role model thing. Subsequently, I showed them how to have humility and to apologize when they were wrong.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, noted American self-help author and motivational speaker once said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I never fully understood this until recently. My children have all chosen to live their lives miles away from where I now live…and I couldn’t be happier. Two years ago, I could have never imagined being this happy. Two years ago, I saw the fact that my children did not choose to live near me as a reason to feel sorry for myself. However, now I see it as a blessing, and all it took was for me to change the way I was looking at things. Where once I saw my children not wanting to be near me, I now see my children influencing others’ lives. Where I once saw my children turning their backs on me, I now see my children making the world a better place. My children haven’t changed, I haven’t changed. But the way I look at things has changed.
My four living children are all kind, upstanding, productive members of society. They are adults who have respect for themselves, others, their communities and Mother Earth. They are exactly as I have raised them to be. In the end, I have to do as a mother just as I have to do as a teacher: teach them well and let them go. Now, should anyone want to ask me why I wanted to be a mother, my answer would be, “Because I know I can make a difference.” And I have. My children, as well as my students, are destined to change the world! Peace, ~v.
P.S. To my children, I love you. I will always be with you; you are never alone.