Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Mother's Love

"There is nothing like a mother's love for her child."



Mom would often quote those words to me in hopes that it would help me to understand the decisions she would make regarding my sister, Renee. From the perspective of my 17 year old mind, I thought that she was just enabling her.

As time went on, I began to open my mind and heart to her sentiment as Mark and I became very involved in Renee's life. Although Renee was my sister and not our child, we loved her so much and only wanted the best things in life for her, just as any parent would.

And because of our love for her, when she passed away, we grieved as deeply as any parent would. Mark and I questioned our desire to become parents ourselves after living through such a heart wrenching experience. What would happen if something happened to our own child? If we felt this way about my sister, how could we even live if we lost our child? How in the world was Mom doing it?

As our friend, Michele, would say, Mom was a Rock Star. She carried herself through that horrible time in her life with grace and strength. She proved to the two of us that the fear of losing a child was not worth escaping the chance to experience that love for ourselves.



Four years later, we were finally blessed with a little girl of our own. We decided to name her after my sister, Renee, in honor of her loving and generous spirit. And though this blog post is mostly about a mother's love, as parents, Mark and I were instantly and hopelessly in love with this little person.

So THAT'S what Mom was talking about! That deep, intense love that would make you do anything for your child!

Let's compare the two photos above. One was taken in 1969 as Mom held me. The other was taken in 1999 as I held Renee. Do you notice any similarities? Yup! That look in our eyes? Adoration.

Mark called it! Mom was always right, and always the All Knowing One! Ha!

As our little peanut grew into a young lady, this love would eventually push me to throw away the parenting books and just trust in myself. This love encouraged me to really listen to this sweet, loving person, who just happened to be a very intuitive and feeling child.

Was that the easiest route? Not at all. Did everyone agree with me? Not always, but thank goodness I always had Mark and Mom to stand by to support me when I had to make a choice that might not be well received by others.

Mom had raised her girls more traditionally than Mark and I were raising Renee, but I think that life and its experiences had opened her eyes to see things in a different light. I especially became aware of this towards the end of her battle with leukemia when she became very protective of Renee and her feelings. She wanted Renee to be able to make choices regarding how much (or how little) she needed to deal with regarding Mom's end of life choices. She constantly reminded me to always remember that she didn't want her death to be a scary or terrible experience for Renee. She wanted Renee to remember the good times that she had shared with her Grammy, and never to feel guilty about the way she was (or was not) dealing with her death.

Yesterday, as we were driving to the medical school in Macon for the memorial service for Mom, Renee quietly told us that she wasn't sure if she really wanted to go. As the miles passed by, her insistence grew stronger and she became more upset.

I really want to blame myself for this, seeing that I was also very conflicted about attending. I've often said that Renee is a barometer for others' feelings, and I wonder if she was picking up my vibes of uncertainty?

Either way, by the time we arrived, poor Mark was beside himself as he couldn't resolve this emotional situation which had escalated out of control.

After taking a deep, cleansing breath, Mom's voice suddenly popped into my brain, which was quite full of turmoil at that moment.

"There is nothing like a mother's love for her child."

At that moment, I knew what I had to do. I turned to Mark and asked him if he would please go in for all of us, and I leaned over to hug my daughter. As she melted into me, I knew that I had made the right choice.



It's the choice that Mom would have wanted me to make as well. My heart tells me so.

3 comments:

Wannabe Farmers said...

This is beautiful Mare. You are stronger than you think. Despite your conflicted emotions about going, you got in the car. I think Renee's reaction was definitely a reflection about your hesitancy; however, even more because though she is wise beyond her age she is still emotionally young. I was only a little older than her when my grandmother passed, and this type of thing would have been something I couldn't have born.

Tink *~*~* said...

Trying again -
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Kimba said...

The beauty that is you and your family, is that you all honor each other. That is love and it is so wonderful - HUGS to all of you!