I chose to be a mother in a part of the world where it is a real choice. At no point did my child participate in the choice of his being born. Of course there were the constraints of the religious beliefs I was brought up with, the social pressures of the time I grew up in, my utter and complete lack of self-esteem and self-worth at the time I became pregnant, but none of that has anything whatsoever to do with my child; it has to do with me. I chose to have him, I chose the responsibilities and the sacrifice of bringing him into the world — it’s all on me. He doesn’t owe me anything for my choice, but for the time I was raising him, I certainly owed him.
Being a parent isn’t easy, that’s not exactly news. Being a child isn’t easy either. But there is one thing I have concluded about being a mother, having raised a child who is now out in the world making it on his own. You don’t owe your mother anything. Period. Guilt is for suckers, manipulators, powermongers and the religious.
I owed my son the best life I could possibly give him, even when I had no idea how I was going to provide it. I owed it to him to sacrifice my time, my pleasures, my life being all about me. Just because he is now a grown man doesn’t mean that somehow the tables are turned and he owes me something for the choices I made. I don’t want my son to behave in certain ways, or believe in certain things, just because I do. I don’t want him send me sappy Mother’s Day cards or flowers and chocolates out of some contrived Hallmark-card, societal obligation. I want our interactions to be genuine.
It’s not that I don’t have hopes and dreams for him, I do. I want him to discover who he is in a deep and meaningful way, to follow his heart and live compassionately. I hope with a profound love that he grows intensely, he loves with abandon and that he experiences that he is the whole world and just a speck of dust all at the same time. Sure, I want him to love me, to be as honest as he can with me, but he doesn’t owe me that. I want those actions to be his choice.
Even though he may not have liked me at times, or the way I did things, I did my job and got him to adulthood relatively unscathed. He is as intact as any human who has gone through early life. He has a beautiful heart and a curious mind to develop. He is empathetic in a way that makes me proud. What more could a mother ask for than to watch their child go out into the world and strive to be who and what it is that they want to be?
I don’t want to impose an agenda for what our relationship will be like because I have some sort of ideal that I’m attached to. I would be heartbroken if he felt like he owes me because, quite frankly, he doesn’t. He only owes it to himself to be true to his heart, and that is a choice he will have to make — on his own — without me, just like the choice’s I made — on my own — without him.