Today's Article

Mother Recall

A few years back, there was a recall of an election for the Governor of California. I remember reading and watching the news about the recall going on in that state. Personally, I don't understand the whys or wherefores of the whole procedure but it did, however, get me to thinking; what if, as mothers, we could be recalled by our children?

This past weekend, my position of matriarch of my family was questioned, and I'm sure thoughts of recall filled my children's minds. If it was brought to a vote as to whether they would recall me as their mother, it would probably be as follows: 3 yes, 1 no, and 2 undecided. Even if I reminded the two undecided voters of the times I stayed up all night with them when they were sick, or mentioned the times I would go out and help them find 20 different trees for 20 different leaves to be taken in for a school project, I still wouldn't get the majority vote. The only positive aspect of this whole idea of a recall is that my six children's lives are constantly evolving and changing — so too is their attitude about me. A delay in the recall vote could be beneficial to me at this time.

You see, I find it is part of my mission as a mother to point out to my children — no matter what their age or status in life, the consequences of their bad choices in life. It matters little whether they have asked my advice — I give it willingly. I sometimes find myself waiting longingly by the phone, hoping for a call from one of them, begging for my words of wisdom. However, I usually find out their need for my wisdom from other sources. I asked my daughter, the mother of three of my grandchildren, why I'm usually the last one to know about things involving her and her siblings. She said, "Mother, you always over-react." I cried out emphatically, "No I don't!" Okay, so maybe I'm a little expressive in my reactions! It isn't that I have great insight into the future; it is just that I've been on this journey of life a long time, and I know what can happen from mistakes and bad choices resulting in pain and sadness, and I just never want my children to have to go through that if I can help it.

Looking back over the years, the only chance I had of total acceptance without question was before my children reached the age of reason. After that, I was looked upon and referred to differently through the years.

When my children were little they were like little ducklings following me and listening to my commands as though I knew everything. I was called mommy and I loved it. No matter what I did it was just wonderful in their eyes. During those years, I could have been Mother of the Year every year.

Then the children grew older and mommy became mom — the woman who cooks, cleans, chauffeurs and does other mom things around the house. The children still spoke to me but not in the endearing way of a little child. The next stage is the no name stage. The children usually referred to me as "her" or just pointed me out in a crowd from a distance when asked, which one is your mother? It was pretty much a life of tolerance of each other's existence. Finally, the "mother" stage of life — at which I'm looked upon as aged, confused and way too outspoken for my own good. I'm called mother a lot by my children lately. I think they believe that they are in a sort of a role reversal — as though I'm the child and they are the parents.

I have come to the acceptance that I won't be nominated Mother of the Year again this year. I really don't think I'll ever be in the running. A recall vote is still possible, but I don't know of another woman who would want this position — especially after I give her the whole job description. My relationship with my children is not damaged. There will be future moments again when my need to share my wisdom will once again overpower me and one of my children will receive the benefit of this wisdom — probably not by their choice. They are trying to learn to accept me as a woman who also is their mother as I'm trying to learn to accept them as adults who are also my children and no longer my little ducklings. It's a life learning process for both sides.

As mothers I know there is such a strong desire to save our children from making mistakes and bad choices in life. We want to spare them from pain and sadness that we know could result from such decisions. When they are little, it is easier to guide them but as they become young adults, such guidance is not always asked or easily accepted. Our journey is not their journey and the best we can do is to be there when they reach out to us to help them walk their paths.

I have a mission in this life - I'm a mother! Could my children recall me from this position? Possibly, but I have settled into my destiny as the matriarch of this family, and I like it! Nope, I love it.

Susan Handle Terbay

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