a woman looking out a window
Image by Rosa García

One thing everyone on the planet (animals as well),have in common is that we all have. or had. a mother. Not one of us was born from a father's womb, or from our own womb. Every child (and mammal) on earth was fed and nurtured in the womb by their mother. That is a fact that cannot change.

But of course, the road from birth varies for all. Some had extremely caring and loving mothers, while at the other end of the spectrum, others had more indifferent or distant ones. Yet we still owe our life to the woman who gave us life. No matter what came after -- the tears, the love, the joy, the rancor -- she still is the reason we are alive. Without her, we would not be here. 

Kahlil Gibran wrote

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you."

Yet, the opposite of that is also true.  your mother, your parents will always belong to you. They are part of who you are, they are in your cells, in your beliefs, in your upbringing. Whether that upbringing is one you feel was "good" or "bad", it is still a part of who you are. It provided the building blocks on which you developed who you are today. 

So on Mother's Day, and every day of our lives, it would serve us to remember that no one is perfect. Mothers, like all humans, are learning, growing, and err sometimes in ways that may hurt us or that we don't understand or agree with. 

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"There's no such thing as a perfect mother. None of us can look back at our children's lives and claim that we made every single decision correctly. But if we lead with love--if we let our hearts guide our decisions and influence every moment we spend together--I think we're on the right track.

"I hope that as my son grows and one day begins his own family, he will remember me as someone who sometimes made mistakes but always did her best--someone who, despite the wrong turns sure to come in the road, will belong to him forever." -- Kristin Harmel, from the Author's Note of the short story "The Road Home"

While parents can disown their children, you cannot disown your parents because they are in your cellular structure, their DNA is a part of you. And while you can go different ways, their essence is always with you. Whatever has happened in your life, if you are separated from your parents by choice (theirs or yours), by distance, or by death, they are still part of you. And who they are, or were, still continues to affect you to this day. Your choices are your own, but they are colored by your early childhood upbringing and experiences and your memories and interpretations of those events.

So, no matter if we've had a "happy childhood" or not, we are still beholden to our parents for giving us life, and for laying the foundation of who we are, and who we can become. On Mothers Day, on Fathers Day, and everyday of our life, we can choose to remember them with gratitude, even though our upbringing may be riddled with what we may feel were mistakes on their part. Those "mistakes" helped make us who we are. Those errors in judgment were the energy that lit a light on our path to the life we life today, and the life that remains in front of us.

So whether our parents are still alive or not, we can be grateful for the life they gave us, for the choices they laid before us, and for the freedom we had to move on with or without them. Regardless of whether we think they were "good parents" or not, they were the ones who helped us become who we are today.

As a child, I bemoaned the fact that my mother had a job -- in the days when that was not a common occurrence. I envied my friends who, I imagined, came home from school to a mother that had cookies, milk, and open arms to welcome them home. I was "raised" by caring babysitters, and once I was of school age sent to boarding school. I felt I was missing out on a loving childhood. And while, in some ways I was, I was also gifted with other things. I was gifted with independence and with resilience. I learned to stand on my own two feet as I did not have a mother and father at home to fall back on at the end of the day. 

We can discover, if we choose to look, the gifts in the challenges of our upbringing. We can see that without those challenges and blessings, we would not be who we are today. Our mother may have given birth to us, but the moment the umbilical cord was cut, she also gave us our freedom, willingly or not, to go our own way, in our own way.

So, on Mothers Day, and every day, we can pause and give thanks for the mother we had, and also for those women who perhaps were also like mothers to us, and know that they were all guiding lights, whether clear or muddied, on our journey of life.

So while there is no such thing as a perfect mother, there is also no such thing as a perfect child. We all, mothers and children, are students on the path of Life and Love. The best we can do is learn from our mistakes, and the mistakes of others, and strive to live from Love everyday of our life.

We can also learn to forgive those in our past who we feel have hurt us, while remembering that those "mistakes" were part of our life's journey and our life's building blocks, We can be grateful for what we may have considered mistakes since they have helped make us who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow. 

 Related Book:

Freedom: The Courage to Be Yourself
by Osho.

Freedom: The Courage to Be YoruselfFreedom by Osho helps readers to identify the obstacles to their freedom, both circumstantial and self-imposed, to choose their battles wisely, and to find the courage to be true to themselves. The Insights for a New Way of Living series aims to shine light on beliefs and attitudes that prevent individuals from being their true selves. The text is an artful mix of compassion and humor, and readers are encouraged to confront what they would most like to avoid, which in turn provides the key to true insight and power.

Info/Order this book (new edition, different cover). Also available in a Kindle edition.

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com