My children tease me about the state of the giant bulletin board hanging on the wall behind my desk. The board is filled with snapshots of covered-in-mud finish line embraces, loved quotes, mementos from my daughters’ years as lacrosse and hockey players, college buttons, race ribbons, greeting cards, photos of my kids as babies, toddlers, tweens, teens, and now—young adults, and even a breaking-the-rules list of a few selected passwords and account numbers. Sitting in the center, like the heart of this curated collection, is a tattered article about mothers, torn from a magazine long ago.
Whetherwe wereadopted, abandoned, grew up in foster care or were born and raised by the woman who birthed us, we have them.Our mothers shapewho we are, how we see the world, how we love. Even if we don’t know our mothers, have lost contact with them, or they have died, time thinking about this affecting, complicated relationship helps us understand ourselves.
With these ideas in mind I, finally, reach up, take the article from the board, and read it for the first time.
10 Questions to Ask Your Mother
- What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a mom?
- Why did you choose to be with my father?
- In what ways do you think I am like you, and not like you?
- Which one of us kids did you like the best?
- Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?
- Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family?
- Is there anything you regret not having askedyourparents?
- What’s the best thing I can do for you right now?
- Is there anything that you wish had been different between us—or that you would still like to change?
- When did you realize you were no longer a child?
Even if we aren’t mothers, we allmother. As friends, fathers, aunts, uncles, pet owners, children, teachers, we mother. Each time we listen, console, nurture, connect, help, teach, forgive, we mother.
Some mother-child relationships are easier than others. Some are painful. Some face excruciating challenges. Some exist only in our minds, our hearts, or our memories.
If your mother is here, consider asking her the 10 questions. If your mother is gone, reflect on how your mother might have answered them. And, if you are a mother—in any way, shape, or form,answer the questions and remember the impact and contributionyour motheringmakes to our world.
To all whomother, Happy Mother’s Day.
Newman, J. (2004).You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: Diary of a new mother .Miramax. Los Angeles, CA.