Its mother’s day here in Sweden. That means it’s time to write an ode to my mother. It also means I have to decorate this post with pink hearts.
I would be a completely different person if it weren’t for my mum. And it’s not just the genes, it”s the growing up. There are a couple of things I’m extra grateful for her doing:
– Talking to me. All the time. About everything. Most questions were answered and they were usually answered honestly. I would also attribute some of my philosophical nature (or the survival of it) to our talks about life. Mum has always taken my curiosity seriously, probably because she’s just as curious about the world as I am. That’s kind of neat.
– Trying to teach me to understand others. It could be frustrating, at times, when someone had treated me badly and my mum insisted on talking about the reasons behind it and how they might be feeling. But simultaneously, it made me feel a bit better. People weren’t being mean because they hated me, but because they were insecure or didn’t know how badly their behaviour made me feel. Sometimes they were just as sad as I was. That didn’t mean it was okay to act the way they did, but it made it understandable. It made human interaction easier to understand too. And it taught me that other people feel and think things that you don’t know about. I’ve had a couple of “aha” moments growing up where I realised someone might be feeling a certain way about something or guessed at a reason for some seemingly strange behaviour which really helped, both for me personally because I didn’t have to feel as confused or hurt, and also because it let me be a slightly better fellow human being. I think it would have taken me a long time to figure this out for myself.
– Making me cry with compassion for people I think are horrible human beings (and labelling people “horrible human beings” less often). Partly as an effect of the above mentioned understanding. Partly as an effect of seeing my mum being compassionate and crying. I don’t think I know anyone who can harbour such warm feelings for people who have treated her and others so badly. That’s not to say she never gets angry. But she doesn’t hold grudges. What she does hold is anger and compassion – at the same time, in the same body. She’s kind of my hero that way. Or not kind of – she is.
– Telling me I could live with her until I’m 90 if I wanted to. Granted, she was fairly certain I would tire and move out before that, and probably even before she was ready for it, but the promise still meant a lot to me. I could actually look forward to becoming an adult, because it didn’t have to mean being on your own. It just meant you had to be more responsible about your actions, and you could eat candy whenever you wanted to. Or something like that.
– Art. I’m really happy I grew up with a mother who’s an artist, and I’m grateful she shared it with me. Even if I don’t make pictures or go to art exhibits very often nowadays, I’ll always have that extra way of seeing things that she helped me develop. An added layer. It’s also been another thing for me to be curious and passionate about – which is always good, I think.
– Making me a feminist. I’m not sure how she did it, but I’m pretty sure that she did it. And I’m pretty happy about that.
Now this was a pretty self-centered post, considering it’s about my mum.
But then Mother’s day is about mothers being mothers, not actual human beings. Right? Also: I am a bit self-centered. Even my own mother thinks so. Also also: Wikipedia describes Mother’s Day as a “celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society”. Told ya!