An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Mother's love

"A mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved." ~ Erich Fromm

A mother's love is so unique. It is instinctual, unconditional and everlasting, and its power should not be underestimated in the shaping of a child's life. It is definitely a higher form of love and one that we all need in our lives. A mother's love begins at conception and grows with us through pregnancy, flowering at the first meeting of our newborn infant, and then it is simply there and always will be.

As mothers, we are a mix of strengths and weaknesses, largely a result of our genes, our upbringing, our relationships and life experiences. Our job is primarily to nurture and protect our children. When we speak of our children, our smiles radiate like the sun, our eyes light up with joy, and we 'effervesce'! We delight in proudly and enthusiastically telling anyone who will listen about each amazing achievement of our precious children at each step along their life journey. Life's many turns are navigated together with our children and love colours everything to do with them. 

We learn all the various skills we need in the raising of a new human being on the job. And somehow, we find the strength within ourselves to deal with things we could never have imagined, whether it is a explaining the breakdown of a marriage to a 5 year old, counselling a teenager about being bullied, or picking up the pieces and rejoining life after losing a young child.

A mother's love is the first love we ever know. It teaches us how to love and forms the basis for our emotional connections with others. It teaches us about empathy and respect and is critical to the healthy development of our brains, our central nervous systems, and indeed, our souls. Oliver Wendell Holmes put it so eloquently when he said: "The real religion of the world comes from women more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key to our souls in their bosoms."

The importance of a mother's love was brought home to me so clearly when my close friend passed away after battling breast cancer almost 6 years ago, leaving behind her 9 year old daughter. Due to circumstances at the time, her young daughter came to live with us for just over 12 months. I had known and loved her since before she was born and it was a very easy decision for me. She joined our family and became one of my girls. She fitted in so well but my heart ached for her on occasions such as Mother's Day. She tried really hard and fussed over me like the other girls, but I know it wasn't the same and my love could never compensate for what she had missed out on by losing her mother so early on in her life. One day she gave me a little drawing she had done of an angel with a halo and the word "you" written underneath. It is the most precious thing I have ever received as it came right from her heart.

In the busy lives we lead today, we have many roles to fill - wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, partner, boss, co-worker - but what truly defines us, is our role as a mother. If we, as mothers, can teach our children about love and the respect that love deserves, starting right at the beginning of their lives, the odds are so much greater that love will blossom in our children and be carried through to the next generation and the next. As John Lennon said: "Love is all we need!"

A Mother's Love by Nicholas Gordon
A mother's love determines how

We love ourselves and others.

There is no sky we'll ever see

Not lit by that first love.
Stripped of love, the universe

Would drive us mad with pain;

But we are born into a world

That greets our cries with joy.
How much I owe you for the kiss

That told me who I was!

The greatest gift--a love of life--

Lay laughing in your eyes.
Because of you my world still has

The soft grace of your smile;

And every wind of fortune bears

The scent of your caress.

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