When the word bravery flutters towards my mind, an image of my mother is always associated with it. My mom is a more reserved person, often observing and assessing before diving in. She is cautious with her words, understanding the weight they carry. She is careful with her actions, seeing how they can impact others. Despite these pieces of her, my mother epitomizes bravery. You see, bravery is not the absence of fear. It is not always the knight in tarnished armor running head first, disregarding caution, into battle. In fact, I would argue that true bravery is feeling the dread and committing yourself to the best decision anyways. That is what my mother has always accomplished.
When I was a teenager, drowning underneath the weight of my mental illness, I am sure my mother felt there was no right answer. I know she was terrified for what my life was becoming, yet instead of losing herself in that fear she fought for my life. My mother has always been my protector, something I resented as a teenager, but as an adult I cannot imagine my childhood without. My mom was my advocate, my champion, and she would have slayed any of my demons. She was a warrior, feeling fear but moving past it to shield her loved ones. Very simply, she exemplifies courage.
When the word loyalty springs into my consciousness, my mother’s lips spread into a coy smile and large aqua eyes crinkling with unspoken laughter, appears. No matter what mistakes I have made in my life, my mother has always been there to love me until I could love myself. She saved my life, when all I wanted was to self-destruct. She defended me against myself, attempting to build me up when all I could imagine was fading away into my darkness.
As an adult I often chose decisions that had rippling effects of pain. I channeled my determination into actions that evolved into jabs and punches against myself. My mother never gave up. No matter what life threw at her children she never surrendered to any of our monsters. She stood proudly by, celebrating our achievements no matter how small they seemed to us. She again was the defiant warrior, long brown hair billowing against the wind, placing herself in front of the beasts terrorizing us.
There is contradiction to my mother though. She is powerful and mighty, but rarely recognizes it. She is the strength that help shaped each of us, but she has vulnerability simmering beneath the surface. There is a certain dichotomy towards who she is. I often find myself wanting to engulf her in an embrace, feebly wishing my love and respect could cure her from the ghosts of the past. Realistically, I know everyone carries their history with them. We all have moments of our past that haunt us, and it is an individual journey towards acceptance. I want to sweep away the parts of her life that have cut her down. I dream of pouring cement around her feet, firmly planting her in front of who I see her as, but the most I can do is hope one day she realizes her own might.
My mother is the most incredible fighter I know. She is more powerful than any ancient greek warrior, samurai or gladiator. She represents courage, strength and loyalty. She may never recognize these qualities in herself; but I will always haul my metaphorical mirror in front of her. Taking my fingers and outlining all the beauty she has waiting to boil over. My mom gifted her children with qualities of empathy and acceptance, and she ensured we always felt loved.
My most honest Mother’s Day wish is that soon my mom will stop looking at herself as Clark Kent, and instead visualize herself as the Superman she truly is.