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Posts Tagged ‘#parenting’

“I think we’re creating all day long. We have to have an appointment to have that work put on the page. Because the creative part of us gets tired of waiting, or just gets tired” – Mary Oliver

©2018 Suzanne Bélair

This really speaks to me as I am sitting here and thinking about all the ideas that cross my mind, all the projects I would like to start and of all the exciting art I would like to make. The last few weeks have been extremely busy with the little ones and preparing for the next Symposium, seeing friends, and publicity for the LAA group. I find myself getting frustrated because there is no time to put anything down on paper or canvas.

 

The last month has been a whirlwind of emotions and activities. The birth of our first granddaughter and seeing my daughter pregnant in the previous months brought so many powerful emotions that had to be processed.

 

One day, as I was sitting with my daughter who first became a mother two and a half years ago and was pregnant with the little one, I was hit by a reality I was not expecting. I saw her, not as my daughter but as a strong independent woman, who has carved a good life for herself and is in control of her destiny. It hit me that she really didn’t need me anymore. I could almost physically see the shift in my head.

 

Once a mother, always a mother and up to this point, I still felt that my kids needed me somehow, that I could enhance their lives, help make everything better like when they were small. It was a belief in the background of my mind, something I took for granted for nearly 40 years. But my three children are adults now, independent and autonomous. They all enjoy good family and social lives, either run businesses or have decent jobs. They are all well functioning adults and don’t really need us parents so much anymore.

 

I knew all that for a long time on an intellectual level but now I feel it on an emotional level, deep in my core. They are all successful and our role is changing from parents and protectors of their well-being and happiness, to observers, on the fringe of their lives even if intertwined. I am proud of the three of them and of the lives they made for themselves. I feel we did our job as parents but we were also very lucky that they are all intelligent and healthy.

 

In a way, I am back to my carefree days. I feel I am in a transformational stage of my life right now, that my role is changing in a big way. New doors are opening and hopefully, there will be more time for art making in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Thank you for reading !

 

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A few days after mothers day, add to this the excellent blog from Upwitscreek https://upwitscreek.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/swinging-the-bat/

and this morning the non-fiction prompt from “The Time is Now” ‏coming into my in-box with this statement:
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde remarks, “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

 Noel 1978-2crop

It then goes on to ask us to think and write about some reminiscent traits (patterns of behaviour or little quirks reminding us of our parents or guardians) that still impact who we are today.

I have decided to write about my mother. I must say that as much as I never wanted to be like my mother while growing up, rejecting her lifestyle, her devotion to my father, her obsession with cleanliness and order, I changed my mind and tried to be exactly like her once my children came into my life. I always thought she was just perfect especially because of her happiness and acceptance of who she was ! Optimist, loving, always in a good mood! A super housekeeper with a perfect routine she was able to stick to, our house was always in perfect order and “spic and span”. Secretly, I envied the life she and my father had built, the way they seemed so in love even after 25-30 years of marriage.

Growing up, she was able to build a perfect nest of love and comfort, where you could always turn and feel safe, for my sister and I. I loved my mother with all my heart. At adolescence, I revolted against her agreeable disposition, of what I perceived as weakness, of the way she would shy away from any argument, preferring to keep peace with everyone. But it was hard to stay upset with someone that could give you everything and accept everything I did.

When I had children of my own, I tried to be perfect like I thought she had been with us. I loved, cared and fought for my children’s wellbeing fiercely, shielding them from the things I judged as bad in life for as long as possible, also creating a world, a nest of as perfect a love I could give them.

I admired my mother very much and no matter how hard I tried, I never felt I was quite as good as her. For one, I went back to work after my first child. Thirty years ago, this meant I wanted to be at home when I was at work and at work when I was at home, the guilty feelings slowly eating away at me.

I was not able to keep up the house like she used to, bake pies and cakes, nor did I want to really, but I thought I should and could not make my days longer than they were. I was not able to feel and stay joyous, to start singing while I cleaned, to smile all the time, more guilty feelings. I wanted to be perfect for my family. I was missing the crucial element of self-acceptance.

Is our happiness and our sense of accomplishment as mothers linked to our perception of how perfect or imperfect our mothers were? As a young mother, my aim was to become my mother in the eyes of my children and my failure to attain this goal left me feeling inadequate and depressed me. I totally refused to consider I was different and could not, really, become like her. This feeling stayed with me for many years, I am sure affecting how I treated my own children and influencing how they perceived me while growing up. I asked a psychologist one time if it was bad for my children that I was unable to be joyous and happy deep down inside, to be able to transmit optimism and love of life like I thought I should. She suggested I go into therapy which I didn’t do at the time.

My mother, as much as she listened to us and opened her arms to envelope us with love every time we needed it, did not share a lot of herself, her deeper self with us, at least I don’t remember it. It was always about others for her. She was a very giving person and when we started school she threw herself into volunteer work with the same enthusiasm she had displayed at keeping up her love nest, and still kept it up too.

Still today, more than 30 years after her death, I miss my mother, I miss her unconditional love, her wisdom, her optimism, her reliability, her voice.

http://www.suzannebelair.com

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