The cards expressing love to all kinds of mothers are lovely. Flowers and chocolates and all manner of gifts are also signs of caring. Spending time together can't be beat.
Are they sent from the heart?
Both senders and receivers know at some level if these symbols emanate from a heartfelt feeling or a sense of obligation. Or anywhere in between the two points.
I think the mother who receives the token is probably thankful not to be entirely forgotten, but the one who receives something from the heart is fulfilled. And both know the difference, even if it is never verbalized.
Mothers who know they are not truly connected to a child need to let it go and redirect their focus. Chances are they have other people in their lives who relate with them from the heart. They need to tune in to them.
It has to be enough for a neglected or forgotten mother to know she is giving love as best she can. That is all she can control. She does not have to be a mother-of-the-year. She may never be a mother-of-the-year. Also, whether or not a child is at his or her best may become less significant once a mother realizes she may have missed the mark also.
Relationships are so complicated. Some fill us with light and laughter. Some are devastating. Most fall somewhere in between. No one relationship, or category of relationship, defines us, whether parent or child.
Today's ever-shifting families have multiple parents and children. I know one four year old with so many grandmothers, great grandmothers, etc. that she has to put each grandmother's name into the appellation. The good news is she doesn't know it is unusual. And perhaps the bad news is she doesn't know it is unusual. Among her crowd of grandmothers, she probably has some who touch her heart and some she simply knows are grandmothers.
It is no accident that we have come to hear the phrase "daughter of the heart" and "son of the heart." Once sons and daughters began coming into our lives through step families, and we truly loved them, we knew someone didn't have to be born to us to love us and be loved by us.
Today we have children of our hearts who are not physically related to us. Everyone who knows me knows that my brilliant right hand at work for 28 years now, COO Nikki Young, became my daughter-of-the-heart years ago. And my daughter Natalie thinks of Nikki as a sister, being secure enough in our relationship to celebrate having a sister added to her five brothers!
Relationships are so complicated.
Some fill us with light and laughter.
Some are devastating. Most fall somewhere
in between. No one relationship, or
category of relationship, defines us,
whether parent or child.
There are always relationships available to fill our hearts, which can never have too much love. We just have to let the truly loving relationships overshadow any that would otherwise make our hearts ache.
How close we are in our relationships are measured by more than blood lines. Step children are often as dear as those we birth, in-laws can become our own, nephews and nieces- there are opportunities everywhere to love and be loved. Our hearts recognize them.
P.S. My grown granddaughter, Heather Ireland, turned to me a few weeks ago in the midst of a conversation with my sister and me and said simply, "I love you Gramma, I really love you." There's nothing like that simple expression to connect with a heart.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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