Motherhood came easily to me, not because of who I am or any particular abilities or skills on my part. On the contrary, motherhood came almost effortlessly because of who my daughter is.
During my pregnancy, I tried to get my hands onto as much as possible information regarding parenthood, childrearing and anything else that smelled of baby powder and breast milk. I plundered bookstores and piled my bookshelves ceiling high with books and magazines. I was preparing for the biggest test of my adult life, a challenge at which I was determined to excel. I had very clear-cut ideas and a well-defined philosophy on parenting. There was nothing or nobody that would be able to divert me from my goals and objectives. Like a commander-in-chief, I had my battle plan and I was ready to engage.
However, nothing prepares you for that first moment you lay eyes on your off spring. All defences and walls fall away. Battle plans, parenting philosophies and good intentions melt in the face of pure, unadulterated love. You know that nothing will ever mean more to you than this human life and that you will do all in your power to protect, nurture and care for it. Logic and reason have no place in this bond, only love and mutuality that goes beyond all understanding. There is no other relationship like that between parent and child, between mother and daughter.
The wonder of new life left me speechless. It was nothing I expected it to be and more than I could ever imagine. Every new day together with her was the unfolding of new wonders to marvel at, new pleasure to discover and enjoy, and new mysteries to experience. I loved who I became because of her. I prized the labyrinth of paths she opened up for me. She gave me fresh eyes and a different perspective on life. I did not want to restrict any of these experiences or to define her, telling her what and how to be by rigid structure or inflexible philosophy. I sought to remain open to the wonder of the unfolding life together with this vibrant, colourful and unique being, waiting on her to show me who and what she was and collaborating with and encouraging her to be just that.
Strong willed and independent in nature she guided me through the different developmental stages, indicating clearly, when she was ready to advance to a next or not. She knew her likes and dislikes, not easily swayed by the opinions of others. Brutally honest, she would call a spade by its name.
Daring to go out in public draped in my finest lace tablecloth and sporting a straw hat, she had set trends, celebrating her uniqueness and living her life true to herself. In later years, multi-coloured hair and various facial piercings replaced the tablecloth as she gave creative expression to her complex personality.
Despite the tough exterior, this is a cookie with a soft centre. A souvenir box, filled with numerous handmade cards or scribbled notes, thanking me for things I had done for her, still warms my heart and motivates me to be the best me I can be. Many of her tears shed in empathy of the plight of others, challenged me to keep an open heart and mind.
Deftly, she will pluck a sword from the wall to defend the underdog, the weak and the defenceless, her compassion and caring for others, an example to follow.
However, there came a day that a dark cloud covered our landscape. I had to make a difficult decision that would rip her world apart. As her entrance into my life had opened up new paths in my life, my decision plunged her into a maze from which only she could find her way. Her pain was almost too much for me to bear and she made her anguish clearly known to me. Despite her suffering, she offered a hand of forgiveness and reconciliation to me.
My decision had robbed her from her home and the life she had known before. Without blame, she faced the maze before her. With resilience and fortitude, she set out to seek her way in this new world where she has to find her own place to call home.
This beautiful, amicable woman made motherhood an adventure to live for, a drama to die for, a romance to long for. She makes my life a rich tapestry of experiences, which I do not want to exchange for anything else in life.
©Copyright Micelle Coetsee 2015