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The Unintended Wisdom: What My Mother Taught Me

Present Day May 11, 2024 – Mother’s Day


I just got home from walking my dog Leo and the whole time I was out I was thinking about mothers. Who we are and what we represent. I thought about the women in my life who have helped shape the person I am today. You see, I didn’t have a good relationship with my own mother, although I tried to get to know her, for she gave me life!  Now I’m in a place in my maturity, where I can honour her and the unintended gifts she gave me. After all these years of mom being gone, I have found myself reflecting about her so much this year.


During these reflections I have written her the many letters that I could not have written her when she was alive. This process has given me pause and enlightened me to the many ways my life has been well lived, because of her.


Being the oldest of four girls, I saw many situations where our mother was our fierce protector. I also acknowledge the many ways that I felt I wasn’t enough, and how this thought has encouraged me to push myself, to prove to myself and others that I am more than what meets the eye. Honestly, there have been some very important women in my life who saved me from, depression, self-loathing, and destructive behaviours, that I’d like to praise them, on this special day too.


No one can take the place of our mother’s! Whatever faults they had, they are a work in progress like the rest of us. We don’t receive a manual for how to be a mother when our children arrive, planned or unexpected. A mother simple does the best she can with what she has. As a mother of adults now, I try to cut myself some slack when I think of my less than stellar moments, raising my children.


My relationship with my mom was chaotic at best and when the primary parent doesn’t have the basic skills to show you love, and trust and devotion, I grew up guarded, at time combative and determined to be better. I was fortunate to have a foster mother, aunts and teachers who saw something in me that I could not see myself.


I love these women too, for their guidance and trust and presents. Jayne taught me how to get up, dress-up, do your hair and make-up and show up in life. She’s been in my life for the past forty years and is still the person I seek out for advice and wisdom when I can’t make sense of the world. So, every day I do just that. No matter what is happening in my life, I get up, dress-up and show up.


My Aunt Yolanda gave me hope that life has ways of working itself out. She told me growing up, when I felt my mother couldn’t stand the sight of me, that one day I would be spoiled too. She is so wise, and I believed her. Hope is something we all need to have, and my aunt gave me this priceless gift. She had her own children to think and worry about, yet she still made time for me, to braid my hair, to feed me ham sandwiches, and to include me!


My mother-in-law Marg, who tells me I’m her favourite daughter-in-law. Although I’m sure she tells the other daughter-in-law’s the same thing. Still, it warms my heart to have had her in my life after all these years. Her work ethic, and sturdy support for her boys was admirable. She’s the Nana every mother could hope for! My children are better because she was and is a constant in their lives!


I wished I could have as many friends as Marg has had over the years. It’s tough for me to say this, however, the reason I keep my female friends at arm’s length is because I lack the tools to be open and vulnerable with other women. Maybe it stems from my earliest relationship with my mother. I’m honestly scared to let my guard down with women. To those women I apologise. I have loved and honoured you from afar, wanting to reach out and be a part of your lives. Kim, Carrie, Julie, Kerri, Anne, Jenn Shannon, Melissa, Cyrstal and others! You know who you are, and I want you to know I love you and I believe I you!


Still, you inspire me when I see you with your own children and families. The women from my martial arts world have been incredible role models. Most of you I’ve loved from a distance like the kid in the school playground watching the others play and feeling too shy to join in. Today is the day I honour you too for your influence, your strength and for giving me the gifts of perseverance.


I’m not sad about the relationship I didn’t get to have with my mother. I’m sad I didn’t get to tell her all the ways she made me resilient, the sisters she gave me and the way we all have some part of our mother in our DNA. Each of my sisters shows me the sides of our mom that I never had the opportunity to acknowledge when she was alive. Our brother too, who we didn’t meet until after our mom was gone, brings another set of traits from our mother that can only be noticed through nature and not nurture.  


Something I am incredibly thankful for is the relationship I have with my children. Although their father and I are not together, we both prioritized being co-parents and supporting our children our biggest commitment. This has given me the most pleasure, being a mother and having children I’m proud of fills me with the kind of love that has no limit. Which has shown me, that the feelings I have, on some level, my own mother must have had too.


No matter what your relationship is with your mother, take to good with the bad. We forget that those not-so-great memories have given us intangible gifts. Our mother’s gave us all the grandest gift, the gift of life! What are you waiting for? Tell the mother, mom's, aunts, nana's and great grandma's, thank you, and love you:)







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