As a mother I sense genuine gratitude from my kids only during unexpected and fleeting moments of pure joy. They express it not knowing how happy it makes me, or their father.
Therefore, no flower, card or craft (which no child will be making at school these days by the way) will ever come close to show the gratitude needed for a mamma to feel understood and appreciated, nor should it. Having mentioned gifts, jewellery comes close, and a day dedicated to self-care comes closer, but this can be any day. Until my children become parents they cannot come close to understanding how much their mother does or sacrifices, and that’s ok, I couldn’t either and there comes a time in ones life when it all falls into place.
This year motherhood for me is about the senses. I have been thinking of the little things that my mother and grandmother did while I was a child and have been imbedded in my subconscious, reminding me of the unconditional love, sense of belonging and the warmth that motherhood is all about until today. While I was growing up, it was a time when cars did not have seat-belts in the back seats, helmets were not required when skating or riding a bicycle and smoking was allowed on flights. A woman’s career was her priority and children were not helicoptered, chauffeured and catered exclusively vegan and gluten-free diets; hence I was cared-for mainly by my grandparents who raised me with lots of love, food and outdoor play time, especially over the long summer holidays.
Since then a lot has changed, but there are some fundamentals memories that I treasure from my childhood and hope to successfully pass on to my children so that they too can feel the giving nature of motherhood even when I am not around.
The nose knows, smells linked to love and happiness
My grandmother is definitely the key driver of this memory. Obsessed with providing us with adequate nutrition, she would not go to bed at night without ensuring my brother and I were well-fed. While she prepared homemade sweets during the evenings, just to be sure that we had a full stomach, she unknowingly embedded the sweet scent in our subconscious. These scents awaken emotions of love, security and belonging time and time again many years later.
The ultimate emotional battery re-charge for me especially during the formative years (as far as I can remember) is eye-contact with my mom and her active listening. It is this attention that tunneled into my heart and became stored into my subconscious for the rest of my life contributing to my sense of self and self-worth.
The sound of a happy voice on the other side of the phone
Ever since I could use a dial telephone I memorised my mom’s office number and I would probably call her 3,000 times a day during the summer break, just to repeatedly ask her what time she will come home. I didn’t always reach her but when I did, her voice unfailingly made me feel that she was extremely happy to hear me, and that's all I needed to know. It’s this sound of unconditional love that rings in my ears and echoes inside me even during my darkest moments.
Motherhood is about giving, uniting and the sense of belonging. And while our senses act as wake-up calls that carry our childhood memories forward, offering emotions of joy or melancholy, the responsibility falls on our shoulders to take the simple tasks we perform with our kids and create moments for our children to hold on to when we are not by their side. Its usually the quality and not only the quantity.