Mother: You Are Enough

by Julie on May 6, 2010 · 29 comments

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“Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.” ~ Alice Walker

::

I bet none of the Mother’s Day cards to be given this week include words like these.

My mother, Joan, died not quite two years ago. She wasn’t perfect. She did not hide her flaws. Yet, I didn’t know her obvious humanness was her gift to me until I sat with her body after she passed.

As I sat with her beautiful womanly body, a body that bore three daughters, I stroked her fine white hair, caressed her tender wrinkled face, and cradled her belly, the belly that was my first home. I felt awe for her obvious humanness and the strength she found as a single mother. The lines in her face bore witness to these parts of her life that were hard.

Like most daughters, I complained about the ways my mother was flawed. And I grew up fighting my own flaws, especially as a mother, especially when my life got very hard. I’ve really struggled with how I lost my way when my husband died. I wasn’t there for my children in the way I ‘should have been’ if I had been a good mother. I’ve held myself up to some standard that was always unattainable. I’m flawed. My daughters saw my flaws. They experienced my flaws. They can tell you in a minute all about my flaws.

What if I realized my flaws are my humanness? What if I simply accepted that I am flawed? human? real?

What if I saw my body now, while I am alive, like I saw my mother’s body when she was lying in the light that surrounded her moments after her death?

Flawed is a whole world away from sinful. I know sin is not real. I’ve seen too many babies born to believe one comes into the world as a sinner. Those tiny pink toes. Those cherub arms and legs. Those eyes that look at you from the other side of the mystery could never be marked with something such as sin…the kind of sin pill we keep being forced to swallow.

Flawed is where the light shines through, or as Leonard Cohen sings:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

And that’s how the light gets out, how our light shines into the world, through our flaws, through our humanness.

And when we teach girls they must grow up to be perfect mothers, it’s a set-up for the never-ending striving for perfection, the never-can-be-reached destination that is exhausting and robs women of simply being themselves, and the opportunity to model to their children what it means to be content with oneself.

Oh, to feel myself relax into the shape of who I naturally am, flaws and all, so I might hold my daughters with the softness of self-love and acceptance.

Oh, to see my daughters relax into the shape of who they naturally are, flaws and all, so they might cradle their babies with the same softness of self-love and acceptance.

What if we gave our mothers a soft place to land, a place where they were showered with the praising words of “you are enough”?

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Renee Morrison May 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Thank you for this lovely post. It caused me to cradle my belly. The belly that birthed my two amazing sons, who are now young teenage men. My sons, too, know all about me, and my flaws, yet, love, as I them! What a pleasure to celebrate mothers day! And to cradle my somewhat imperfect belly, and rejoice at what it birthed. Thank you for your humaneness and realness. That is what it’s all about. ♡

sheila May 7, 2010 at 5:06 am

Perfect post for Mother’s Day…I really enjoyed it! I too think it is a true gift when we let our children see how utterly human we are and in turn hopefully they will learn to accept their own humanness.

Happy Mother’s Day Julie!

whollyjeanne May 7, 2010 at 5:37 am

i think that on sunday, we’ll raise a glass to flaws. i even like that word more now. another beautiful, meaning-full message that must slip out through the cracks and find its way into the world. the universe. the galaxy.

Lindsey May 7, 2010 at 6:29 am

I love this. Thank you. I didn’t know that Alice Walker quote but it’s just absolutely the sum total of my belief about motherhood. Thank you.

Marjory May 7, 2010 at 8:05 am

AHO dear one! Oh Julie, this is divine!! I cried as soon as I started reading your post. You unlocked deep emotions in my heart. Your post touched a space beyond words. May we see our flaws in all their beauty and hold our mothers tenderly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

rafhara May 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

Oh, this ist good for me as a mother and as a daughter!!! Thank you.
I can let go of my guilt once more. The spiritual path is wild for two reasons, you want to awaken to you truth. All of a sudden you see your flaws !! ups…. and then, you feel guilty about it …..and you ARE aware it is NOT about that, nice to meet you – keep breathing….then everything disappears …….only love for myself and for my child…….finally……
It fills me with joy to send my mother my handwriting……on a beautiful paper ……telling her that what I received here.

Referring my dauther: Lately I found a beautiful quote on a stone, it said: Mothers are angels in training. I bought it for my daughter, wanting her to know that I know that I am not perfect. How astonished and touched I was, when next time I visited her, I found this stone attached on the door of the main entrance of her flat……

Robbie Kaye May 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

What can I say Julie? Your words and love combined leave me speechless, truly… You continue to be great inspiration for me and so many and I thank you for that and so much more. In essence, we are all mothers and daughters…and sisters…. how fortunate! Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Jan Coe May 7, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Beautiful and beautifully written.

Annie May 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm

So true. Very beautiful and definitely how we should all think. As a mother we learn every day on the job. My boys are 16 and 18 and I’m still learning. Thank you for writing this.

olive & hope May 8, 2010 at 9:17 am

thank you for sharing your beautiful words with us. It is for all women. Every day. We are enough. I will be sharing it with the women in my life. much love to you!!

Mrs.Which May 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

Yes.

Alana May 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

Tears. Gorgeous. Thank you.

Laura May 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm

What a beautiful post. So heartfelt and honest. Your daughters are lucky to have you.

Ronna May 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Julie: As always and not surprisingly, this is totally lovely and totally grace-full. Grace extended toward your mom, offered to your daughters, and given to yourself. And, of course, in so doing, you invite me to the same: acknowledging my mother’s flaws, certainly my own, their impact on my daughter’s, and those that they will undoubtedly make all on their own. This space of allowing/embracing is rich, deep, warm, womblike. And, as always and not surprisingly, you remind me of it. Thank you.

Kate May 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Oh this is a beauty of a post. Thank you for this. I gave my mom a card this Mother’s Day that said on the front: “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine.” And inside I wrote: “You are a completely abnormal mother, and for that I am deeply grateful.” I was always desperate for my mother to be like all the other mothers (or who I thought they were) and to be perfect. And now that I’m a woman I see my mother as a woman and her imperfections and wackiness give me permission to fly my own freak flag high. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

Tina Mansfield May 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

What a great read. Thank you for your beautiful perspective.

Julie May 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Renee – I love that you felt compelled to cradle your belly. Our imperfect bellies and all they do for us. Thank you for stopping by and sharing this with me.

Sheila – Exactly. How joyous to see our own children embrace their imperfections. xo

Jeanne – Raising my glass to flaws, alongside you, dear. loving you.

Lindsey – It sounds like we look at motherhood through the same lens.

Marjory – yes, hold our mothers tenderly…all mothers tenderly. loving you.

Julie May 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Rafhara – Thank you for stopping by and sharing yourself here. What a beautiful story about your daughter. How was it to share that note with your mother? Blessings.

Robbie – you are such a blessing to this world. You’re lighting the way for us as we age. Thank you.

Jan – Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Annie – Motherhood is definitely one of the most creative endeavors we’ll ever undertake. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Lola Fayemi/Aligned & Thriving May 11, 2010 at 2:25 am

Beautiful! I’ve just found you through Twitter and I will definitely be back.

In peace and prosperity

Lola

Julie May 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Olive & Hope – Absolutely! This is for all women. We all were birthed by a mother. We all want to feel we are enough. We all embody the Universal Mother. Motherhood is so much more than birthing and raising children. It’s also about mothering ourselves and each other, as women. I love knowing you and being a recipient of your wisdom.

Mrs. Which – thank you.

Alana – thank you.

Laura – Thank you for sharing your comments here. Yes, and I’m lucky to have them.

Julie May 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Ronna – Thank you for your comments about Grace and the womb. Those words speak deeply to me and about what this blog is about. Thank you for sharing deeply, here, and in all the work you do.

Kate – I love that..fly your freak flag high! I wonder if everyone wanted their mother to be like everyone else’s mother? Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Tina – Thanks for leaving your thoughts. I love that you came to visit.

Lola – I’m so glad you found me and that you’ll be back. Peace and prosperity to you, too.

whollyjeanne May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

hey darling. it’s just me, coming back for a sixth time to read this beautiful post. xo

Graham May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Just beautiful Julie! Thank you for the gift of your perspective.

Julie May 19, 2010 at 10:28 am

Thank you, Graham. Coming from you, this means so much.

Jessica Martinez June 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm

That was so beautiful and touching. I cried the whole way through it… and it made me realize that flaws are what make us beautiful and real. Thank you!

Jennifer May 5, 2011 at 8:50 am

Simply beautiful. Thank you for this truth. I will share this with all my mama friends, and my own mother. Blessings.

Antonia/EdenSol May 6, 2011 at 7:17 am

Gorgeous post, Julie! Rich, deep and a Blessing.. I shall be sharing. Wishing you a most Beautiful Mother’s Day

kolleen May 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

love.
tears.
real.

thank you.

ox
k

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