Every mother was a little child who would turn to her mommy for support for everything from an upset tummy to a crush on a sixth grade boy to planning for her wedding.
Then she grew up and became a mom. Suddenly the dynamics changed.
One day a year we stop to "honor" mothers by celebrating one of our most treasured holidays. Homage is paid in a variety of ways... breakfast in bed, going out for brunch, flowers, cards, a particular solicitousness, unusual civility and in general a festive day.
But what about the rest of the year? How often do we take our parents for granted, particularly our mothers who in the majority of cases had been our primary caregiver? This is certainly the case among older Baby Boomers whose mothers often worked only in the home.
However even with Millennials and the generations that have followed moms always tend to be our beacon of strength and most often the lifeline of last recourse when we have a problem, are feeling stressed or simply need a shoulder to cry on figuratively or literally.
We hear much more about struggling single moms than dads. No disrespect intended to fathers... it's just the way it is. Evolution, a cultural phenomenon, a flawed social system, who can say for sure. However, in general Mothers tend to be the glue that holds families together.
Guys relationships with their moms are often different from those of women. The bond is just as tight although the style and content of communication may be different. Don't be fooled, we may not show it but we are very attached to our mothers. I certainly was and still am. Freud be damned!
Mothers and daughters tend to share a unique closeness that often includes talking almost every night, particularly as parents get older. This isn't the always the case, but certainly it's very common.
Of course there are always two sides to a coin. Mothers may nag, be overbearing and constantly judgmental, critical or demanding. Do you know of any stand-up comic who doesn't refer to their dysfunctional family?
More often it's the women comediennes who make constant reference to their mom's. Cultural differences play a big part in this as well and lots of male comics engage in mom bashing... although it's usually of a different nature.
Let's not forget mother-in-law's. Somehow or other they go from being that little girl to a beloved mom to the butt of countless jokes. Remember Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners. Of course he seemed to be justified. Yet the (unfair) stereotype portrayed in the show has stood the test of time.
Why does it take this once a year occasion for us to share the kind of communication with our parent that should be a common occurrence?
What stops us from enjoying our parents more than we do? Why just as with our own children do we so often end up in petty squabbles, hurt feelings and in some cases complete alienation?
Family relations often seem to feel like a battleground littered with the walking wounded.
Ignoring instances of valid justification due to inappropriate behavior on anyone's part let's examine the core of the issue.
There are two dynamics. The first is that we generally reserve our most anger and inappropriate behavior for our immediate family. Perhaps subconsciously we know they are the only ones who will forgive us our transgressions. No matter how much we vent or dump on a parent we know they will still love us.
Think about all the people you really care about. For most of us our mothers are near or at the top.
Yet how often do you find yourself thinking about your mom and wishing you might have less stress in the relationship despite your unwavering love and her unconditional acceptance... all appearances to the contrary?
This brings us to the second and most important dynamic. Mindfulness, intention, desire and the willingness to develop a new model of communication.
In order to accomplish this we must possess the motivation to effect change in our life. Is it easy... no. Can we do it.. absolutely!
If we put aside time for introspection we often come up with great data. Think about your grandmother's life and interaction style. In what way is your mother's similar to hers and yours to your mom's? Patterns tend to repeat themselves. Our parents are products of their environments and so on for generations.
How do you relate to your child? See any similarities or patterns? Do you look in the mirror and say "Oh my G-d, I've become my mother!"
As we think of Mother's Day and the special attention we lavish, let's return to communication style.
Life is one big circle. What goes around comes around. How you interact with your child informs their interaction with others including your future grandchild.
I look at Mother's Day as a series of opportunities.
The first is to make a major demonstration of my love and appreciation of my mom.
The next is to look at what has worked best in our relationship through the years. After that, what hasn't worked out as well and why. What can I do to change this? How can I interact with her in such a way that every day is special?
Most importantly, how can I take all the data of the challenges and triumphs I've had with my Mom and look for clues to improving how I communicate with my child?
Mother's Day provides a great opportunity to sit back, reflect and project into the future so you may create a lasting, loving, positive, communicating relationship with your child.
It's all about being aware and having the desire to make change. What you truly want you will achieve.
Happy Mother's Day to all as I spend this first year without my wonderful Mom's physical presence, although she's with me every bit as much on so many levels.
Follow Dave Kanegis on Twitter at twitter.com/mindacrobatics or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow David Kanegis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BabyBoomerCoach