My First Mothersday

Today I was part of the mothers day celebrations as a mother for the first time. I realised earlier this week I would be, only because I asked why it is not my turn to take Cass to school on Friday and she and Leon said they must go shopping. My gift was beautiful, but Cass actually gave me a bigger gift the night before, one that had me in tears. We went to Bon Jovi, and she found some of her school friends who we agreed then she can spend the night with. 10 minutes after Bon Jovi came on stage she popped into our circle and said she missed us too much and decided she’d rather be with us for the night. It was the first time I truly believed that I am creating a bond that is meaningful and loving with this young girl. Last night I truly started believing that she is our daughter, and not just the girl we’re looking after. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been saying ‘my daughter’ since the first week we took her in, but now I know it.

I am still feeling like a square peg in a round hole in the mothers day celebrations. I don’t feel like I have graduated into parenthood. Even though everyone we speak to says we’re taking a much harder path than those who have their own children. It could be because I believe that pregnancy would sacrifice of a part of my life I’m not ready to sacrifice – my sport. I also consider parents of newborns a lot more courageous than we are. A whole bunch of months with very little sleep and a lot more sacrifice of your time. Maybe it is because I feel like a child in my mind still, and some days I don’t believe that I’m close to mature enough to be responsible for a child. Maybe it is because I don’t trust the mother in me yet.

I am constantly questioning my parenting ability. I know we will give her a much better environment than she had, but will it be a better life for her? If I am true to my theoretical approach of good vs bad, right vs wrong, I know I shouldn’t call it better or worse, just different. But will this different environment take her on a path where she will be more than she would have been without us. Am I saying the right things, am I spending enough time with her doing the right things? Am I too strict? Am I standing my ground when I should and being more flexible when the situation calls for it? Leon found a saying – children are like a beautiful glass. Some parents leave smudge marks, some parents crack it, others break the glass. Will I be good enough to just leave smudges?

What I am realising as I write is that I cannot choose her life for her. I can however teach her an approach to life. I can teach her to not go through life blindly, but with every choice she makes, to make it in full awareness that there will be consequences – good or bad. Sometimes we know the exact consequence, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we try and predict a consequence, but we can’t always say what others will do. We can choose whether we are acting according to our own values and beliefs, having integrity and being true to ourselves. Or we can act the way society expects us to and be mediocre.

Having written tonight’s blog I realise that even though I don’t feel like a mother, I do have the awareness to do the best thing with what I know at each moment in time. Am I good enough? I am as good as I can be today. Will I get things wrong? Of course I will. Will I smudge, crack or shatter Cassidy? I will do my best to only smudge her, but I do believe that in becoming a better me, I will be better for her too.

Happy mothers day!

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2 thoughts on “My First Mothersday

  1. Hi Maria.

    What a beautiful piece you wrote It was very moving for me. As a father to four, two of whom are girls and both of them now teens your thoughts resonated so profoundly with my own. I have come to the realization over time that at times as parents we try to live our children’s lives for them. With all the dangers in the world of drugs, violent crime, sex pests and the advent of the internet, watsup, mix-it, twitter and all the rest of it, today’s parents have a really challenging environment in which to try and raise our children.

    Often I used to find myself wondering if my words were falling on deafened ears given the “noise” I was competing with in my children’s lives. At first I took a very hard line approach and latter realized my children were now living double lives. They were clever enough to tamper their characters around me so as not to attract negative feedback, but when away from my presence they were different people. Please don’t get me wrong discipline and boundaries are absolutely paramount as part of the recipe for rearing children and must I feel be part and parcel of how we relate to our children.

    I have however taken a different approach one in which my girls know that apart from being their father I am also their friend and they can talk to me about anything. I have noticed that our children watch us even when we don’t realize it. They observe very closely how we live our lives and compare if what we say is what we do. This has helped me to take a very practical approach to teaching valuable lessons. For example when I get pulled over by the cops here in Zim the expected thing by the cops themselves is that you pay a bribe. I insist they write me a ticket because rather than tell my girls we must be honest I want them to see honesty in action regardless of the price that it may come with.

    The other day I overheard my daughter repeating something I said to her. When I said it to her, I faced great resistance, so can you imagine my surprise to hear her stating the very same thing to her friend as the way things should work. I was balled over completely by the realization that they do hear us even when we think they don’t. I have come to accept that I cannot live my children’s lives for them but that I can live the best life that I can in their sight in the hope that they are sponges, (which children tend to be). So the challenge is not so much in teaching the values it is in living them ourselves, so that our word and our actions become one in the same.

    I remember once having an argument with my daughter, specifically what it was about I cannot remember, but how it ended will always be etched in my brain. She turned to me and said “Daddy one day when you are teenage girl you will understand”………………………………. I had an aha moment.

    1. Hi Milton

      Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your insights. It is so very true and I will definitely see things differently with your input!

      Maria

      Maria Fourie

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