(Written on Mother's Day several years ago.)

Perhaps today I'm feeling tender. Sensitive.

I notice a tendency to tear up as I see and hear messages of mothers and their children on this Mother's Day.

I remember as a young girl how grateful I was to have a mother.

I knew even at a young age that my mother's mother had died when my mom was quite young. After a few years, Lily, the woman I knew as Grandma joined our family. As the story goes, on the day my grandparents married and returned to their home at the orange orchard in a small town of Ventura County, California, the little girl who grew up to become my mom, said, "We got us a mudder now." She was four.

I think about Lily. She is with me often. She was mother to two beautiful daughters, not because she gave birth to them, rather because she chose to marry into their family. Never was there a question: she was mother, grandma. (no step- prefixes were EVER used, none that I ever heard.)

Still I grew up knowing that my mother had experienced the impossible to fathom experience of her own mother's death.
When I was born, the first of three -- all girls, my mother was young and in love. I imagine she went from playing with dolls to caring for me. (I never cared about dolls...) Years ago, I asked her what her life was like when she was pregnant with me. One thing she told me rings in my ears today: "I felt loved. I felt like I was carrying a child-of-love." Not everyone around felt that way. She and my father weren't yet married, and wouldn't be for a few years.

In 1959-60, this wasn't unheard of -- as it has not been since the beginning of time!, but certain not-so-Christian-behaving-Christians tried to convince the family to send my mother to live somewhere else until the child was born. They would have had her put me up for adoption, denying her own child rather than bring "shame" upon them. She refused.
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After I was born, they had a meeting, she tells me, at the church to discuss refusing her as a member of the church. Really?!  Rather shy and not in the practice of speaking in public, she stood before the congregation and declared that it was not up to them to determine her faith. She had her relationship with God, and did not believe that He would refuse her Love or the opportunity to be a loving mother. This was not for them to decide.

(Wonder if I was in the church with her that day?)

Even as I knew my mother's story, I felt blessed to have a mother. And to have HER as my mother. We look alike. We sometimes laugh alike. We are friends, companion-travelers in mystical and ordinary ways.

My father's story was not altogether different. He too was raised by a woman who had not brought him into life through her womb. Amelia chose him. She and her husband were relatives who saw the need of this baby boy, the youngest of a large family. His mother was mentally ill. Perhaps back then people said she was crazy or not-right-in-the-head or insane. Stories I've heard suggest that even as she gave birth to my father, his mother did not realize she was pregnant.

I never knew her. Although I saw her at times when someone brought her to a family gathering. My birth-grandmother was "institutionalized" long before I was born. She was in the mental institutions in the eras when electo-shock therapy and lobotomies were practiced. In my hardest-to-bare imaginations, her life was reflected to me in scenes of "One Flew Over the Coo Coo's Nest." I really don't know how it was for her. Today I hear the echoes in mind of the thoughts I had as a young woman, thinking, "No one has the right to take away a woman's ability to feel and express her emotions!" Yet, I believe that's exactly what a lobotomy does.

I suspect my father thought of Amelia as his aunt, rather than mother. She was both. To me and my sisters, she was Grandma Ditty. I have fond memories of her home and the feel of the curly fur on her black dog, Shelby.

For all these women, I am grateful.

I have chosen not to bare children. That's not the way in which I express motherhood. Surely there is an experience of life that I will never know for this choice. Rarely do I grieve this decision. Today I celebrate the women who did not make the same decision.

Neither of my parents were bastard-children, as I would have been labeled. Neither were they orphans. They each had the blessings of two mothers. One each who bore them. One each who nourished and provided for them, and raised them to become the parents of three beautiful, individual, women. I am one.
 
Life is a gift.
Whether or not your mother loved you the way you wanted her to, she did give you the greatest gift of all: Life.
 
With love... and
a feeling of tender appreciation,

TAMBRA HARCK
Spiritual mentor, author and inspirational speaker, Tambra Harck, guides clients and audiences to empower themselves through accessing their innate wisdom, creativity and true desire. Her warm and insightful nature makes her a powerful speaker, often creating unexpected ahas and expanded possibility.  One of Tambra's passionate missions is to facilitate soul-level transformation with visionary leaders to create new definitions and experiences of success in the world today.

 


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