I knew from an early age that I would not be a mother. I knew this because I decided that I would only become a mother if I had met and loved a man who could rise to the monumental challenge of being a good father. I never thought I would meet that man, and I never did.
It is not to say that I have not known many decent fellows. I have. I just think that being a good father, just like being a good mother, takes a certain level of commitment which many men simply never learn.
My own mother loved me very much. This I never doubted. Unfortunately, her own pain and fear got in the way of her being good for my brother and I. I have accomplished a great deal and have become a solid individual as a result of the obstacles I have had to overcome due to a challenging childhood. But it doesn't mean I was nurtured or cared for in a way that would have produced a confident, well-adjusted woman. My mother had far more on her plate, emotionally, than I have had to contend with, so I have, with the passage of time, come to see my upbringing as a gift of sorts.
Quite a few of my friends are excellent mothers. When I say they are excellent, I mean they are mothers who make me pause in awe at their selflessness and ability to love and nurture their children no matter what type of pain they are carrying. I have been relying on these women for their support in the recent painfully arduous weeks, and I know for certain that I would not have healed as well as I have if it weren't for them.
The loss and heartbreak I have been dealing with in the past month has prompted me to feel all of the loss, all of the grief, all of the anger and pain I have felt with every departure of an important person in my life. My mother died when I was 36, but I realize that I lost her long before the death of her body. I lost her when I was about six years old. That was the first time I hugged her and I could not feel the pain draining from my body. It was the first time I felt my mother reject the hurt I needed to release. I am not sure if it was conscious or not, but it was definitely a shift and one I noted. I lost her healing energy at a young age and I never felt it again.
It is a giant, courageous task to choose to raise a human, even without all the bullshit that goes on in this world to crush people into dust. I never had the nerve, never wanted to find out if I would resent my children the way my mother resented me. But I have had the good fortune to watch certain of my friends show me how to raise a person, how to lift up the spirits in their children so they feel brave in this frighteningly dangerous world. It brings hope to my weary eyes and an optimism to my soul. It is yet another gift good mothers give the world, for theirs is the task of providing hope where there is none, showing new humans how to look for ways to shine, and in doing so, showing even the most cynical and unlovable among us that we too, are worthy of love.
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