My Mother, My Angel

A mother and her youngest child:

All of my firsts were all of her lasts.

I was the final offspring she nourished,

Both inside and outside of the womb.

I was the final bird to fly the nest,

Did she notice my broken wings?

“My mom is the person I admire.

She’s always the greatest mom ever!

I hope I can earn her love forever.

I think she must be a[n] angel.”

-Brittanye, 7 years old, 2nd grade.

It was difficult to be an angel’s child.

When she doesn’t make significant mistakes,

How can you attempt to follow her footsteps?

She was a nurturing loving figure,

She was also an unreachable goal.

I accepted early in life I could never be like her,

I sought after ways I could make her life easier.

With 6 rowdy children still living at home,

“Be a peacemaker,” was all my mother asked.

I tried to be that for many childhood years,

But there was nothing peaceful about me.

As I grew, I tried to keep my symptoms away from her.

However, they would appear in one way or another.

She thought my behavior was due to the typical ups and downs of youth,

A common misunderstanding by parents of the mentally decaying.

My mother tried to convince me I should confide in her,

Especially as a preteen adjusting to Utah.

She knew I held intense hatred towards our new state,

I prevented her from seeing the deep-rooted reasons.

I couldn’t share my pain with her,

Without giving her some to hold.

I couldn’t share my pain with her,

Without dragging her down with me.

I couldn’t share my pain with her,

Without hurting her at the same time.

Turning point for our bond:

When she confided in me.

For many years I sought after ways to help my mother,

Never guessed it would be found in her emotional need.

My mother was always a joyful person,

Until you look close enough to see the stress,

Unbelievable expectations she sets for herself.

For 4 years I was the only remaining child at home,

Giving me a closer look into my mother’s psyche.

A mother-daughter relationship evolves as both grow,

Not only physical age — mental and spiritual change.

My mother has always been honest with me,

She didn’t even lie about Santa Claus!

I appreciated her complete honesty,

At times I’d take advantage of it.

Whenever I strived to share the same truths,

Too many factors stopped me in my tracks.

Adulthood — especially since reaching 21 years —

Brought clarity to many aspects of my life.

Only the last couple months solidified what I’ve been wrestling.

With it came an honest stage of our mother-daughter relationship.

You brought up my 2nd grade assignment,

As I was halfway done with this poem.

“I hope you know you never have to earn my love.”

You started tearing up,

Began to discuss unconditional love,

When I interrupted you:

“I had issues, Mom, it doesn’t have to do with you.”

Technically true — but I couldn’t discuss it yet.

I was writing this poem to explain my statement.

I’m not sure I’ve accomplished that, so here’s this:

The sentence wasn’t addressing you specifically,

I didn’t believe in human unconditional love.

This was one reason why I saw you as an angel,

No matter how bad of a child I was,

You always showed love and patience to me.

I never felt that from the God figure in our religion,

I assumed you were an ambassador sent from Him instead.

Buddhism brought an entirely different understanding:

You are a human who became my mother for a purpose,

You are the closest being I have met to a perfect person.

The ceaseless kindness of your heart isn’t by happenstance,

The unconditional love inside of you was cultivated.

This doesn’t come from any religion or the way you were raised,

This all comes from the essence you built in the depths of your soul.

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