I used to run to her when she'd pick me up from school. Five-year-old perpetual Student of the Month and proud to show her the artwork made from my clumsy hands, I'd run fast enough to fly once I'd reach her open arms. Her voice on the phone after long days working away from me, and her scent that cloaked me at night before bedtime were all the comfort I could ever need. But as the innocence faded and my porcelain skin became pocked with prepubescence, her love seemed to shift and dangle before me - unreachable and unattained. She started to judge those same clumsy hands that aimed to please her and couldn't seem to honor, understand (or take responsibility for) the fragility hidden inside of every swallowed tear.
I tend to shy away from publicly delving into the intricacies of my relationship with my mamá. I would rather respond to every loaded "Como está tu mami?" with "Bien, gracias" than to unravel the knot tightly wound up in my neck. Partly because my culture has taught me to unquestionably honor my mother, and partly because to look too deeply hurts too much. So many aspects of this relationship, I prefer to leave in the dusty corners of my messy mind. An undeniable element of coping with the formidable complexities of committing to loving this woman unconditionally involves suppression. It's such a delicate dance to work through some of the resentments and unfulfilled longings entangled in this relationship. At times it's been so daunting that I'd wondered if I would've allocated the time I spend with her exclusively to holidays and funerals had I not given birth to her favorite human and had she not gotten sick - but I did...and she did....so now this relationship is mandatory. And somehow I am grateful. Because today I love her even more completely.
My mom flew in from LA last night to spend Mother's Day with me and to attend my commencement ceremony next week. We've spent the better part of this day talking herbs and cooking up deliciousness. We've been sharing our latest research on health and healing with one other and shopping for organic veggies to make a big batch of juice to freeze in small portions once I'm done sharing this blog post with you. We've skipped over difficult conversations with ease, mostly because talking about health is so much more satisfying to us both. All of these interactions are profoundly medicinal to me - and to her.
We both acquired autoimmune diseases in our adulthood, and this has forced us to see our relationship as a sharp and unrelenting reflection of one another. This healing journey shows me that we are more alike than we are different. My mom has participated in the 40 Day Healing Journey twice before, and doing so has taught her the tools she has needed to take charge of her process. And access to those tools came through me - the daughter she's never fully figured out. So much of what we chat about today was completely foreign to her just a couple of years ago. We have conversations we never would've been able to explore together had she not understood the basics of what I teach and what I believe everyone should know.
I share this with you today, on Mother's Day, to encourage you to take this day to honor your mother in spite of your differences - no matter how complicated or discouraging your connection to her may be. The parent-child relationship is and should be the primary relationship we work towards finding peace with. Ideally even finding peace within it. Being able to speak about your mother without a pang in your stomach or a lump in your throat is one of the keys to lasting liberation. You and I would not be here had it not been for Her. And that alone is enough to merit our unconditional love.
Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mamas out there living and loving powerfully in spite of all the reasons not to! YOU MATTER MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER KNOW....