Forewarning: I want to clarify that no two people are the same. I make a lot of generalizations here. Understand that they are generalizations, not blanket statements that are meant to apply to every single man or woman on Earth.
Whenever I hear about someone who, like myself, didn’t get to have a true mother in their life, it always strikes me as more tragic than when I hear about absentee fathers. We all need our mothers, and I believe we need our mothers more than our fathers, though both are necessary in any person’s life. We need our mothers because we all need that one person, that one person who loves us immeasurably and unconditionally. Fathers can love that way, too, but it most often comes from mothers, because we all formed within our mothers. It’s not a social connection, it’s a chemical/biological connection as well. From our fathers we get our strength, but from our mothers, we get our soul.
A mother ought to teach her child how to love, how to nurture, how to forgive, how to comfort, and how to build strong relationships. While fathers teach us how to survive, mothers give us a reason to live in the first place.
As I admitted in The Importance of Fathers, I was a momma’s boy. Who knows why this was the case? Perhaps it was the fact that my mother tried to raise most of her kids on her own. I was two years old when we were all taken from her by the state. From what I’ve heard and assessed, my mother didn’t keep the house clean, she brought her boyfriends and one-night stands home frequently, she left the four of us alone in the house frequently (at the time were taken, the oldest any of us were was eleven), and she didn’t even have a job. Needless to say, the state had a good reason to take us from her. And it’s even more justified when you consider the fact that our mother had an opportunity to get us back, but didn’t take it.
We visited our mother after being taken. It was once a week, if I remember correctly. I remember my mother’s voice almost perfectly. I remember she was kind, she was loving, and she was gentle. Judging from what I saw from my mother with my own two eyes, I didn’t see any reason for us to be separated from her. It would ultimately take me over 20 years for me to understand. No exaggeration. I had serious mommy issues until I was 25.
We stopped visiting our mother in 1996, when I was 5 years old. I was never told why it stopped, but all the evidence seems to point to this: That was when my mother went full-crazy. She disappeared. She ran away from the state and ran away to the Midwest, living like a vagrant going through Oklahoma, Nebraska, and I think Kansas. While she was never diagnosed, my blood relatives all agree that she is paranoid and schizophrenic. I reconnected with my mother when I was 18, but her mental problems made it impossible to have any kind of relationship with her. For one, I still couldn’t see her in person (she’s permanently in hiding because of her paranoia). For two, she couldn’t stop talking about her Catholic faith, or feeling sorry for herself. She couldn’t speak to me like a mother; only about how everyone is against her except Jesus.
I still kept affection for my mother despite all this. Despite all the years of absence, the insanity, the bad decisions, etc., I still kept love for my mother. For the next 7 years, she and I talked off-and-on. Unfortunately, each time we talked, the more apathetic I became towards her. Until mid-2016, and I saw nothing changed, and decided there was no hope she could ever change. She was 59 at that time. Nobody entering their 60s has the capacity to make serious changes, especially when they’ve been that way since their teen years.
Clearly there’s an electrical fire going on upstairs. Mental illness isn’t always the person’s fault; it’s just plain unfortunate. Nonetheless, her actions are her own. She had 7 kids total (myself being the 5th) and didn’t raise a single one all the way, nor has she seen any of her kids since they were little. And it damaged all of us. The foster care system, moving from home to home, family to family, and then ultimately being separated from each other… Nobody comes out of that unscathed, unless they’re a sociopath.
Mothers ought to be the epitome of devotion, love, and selflessness. I went from longing to be reunited with my mother, for over 20 years, to honestly resenting her for being such a colossal screw-up. You can be reckless when you’re only responsible for yourself, but you can’t be reckless when you have a child; let alone 7.
Only as an adult could I understand that my mother cannot be a mother. It was two-and-a-half decades of emotional pain for expecting something of my mother, to, you know, just be a mother. Kids don’t first consider if their mother (or either parent) has some kind of brain damage, they just need what they need.
Kids inevitably have weaknesses toward their parents. It’s really only as adults when people, who have terrible parents, finally accept the fact. Even then, most people, most adults, struggle immensely to accept their parents as they are. They either hold grudges, or they tolerate everything. Most cannot simply let go, as I chose to do. But, you cannot blame those who don’t give up trying to have a relationship when it’s a lost cause. And usually, the parent people never give up on is their mother.
No matter how tough you are, everyone needs what a mother has to offer. We are social animals. Social life, social affairs… It can get extremely difficult. Most social connections, including family, tend to go awry at some point. We all need an unbreakable source of emotional strength. A mother should be that source of emotional strength that never gets exhausted. Everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants someone who will never give up on them.
Remember what I said at the beginning: I am generalizing. Generally speaking, unconditional love comes from mothers. Generally speaking, mothers are more capable of teaching their children the value of love, of nurturing, and of taking care of those in your life. Clearly, this isn’t true about every single woman in the world, and I used my own mother as further proof of that. These things can come from fathers. They can even come from non-relatives. Still, though, broadly speaking these necessities for one’s development, and for one’s adult life, come from their mother.
We could all learn a few things from mothers as societal figures.