In thinking about my well-being and what makes me tick as a human being, it is hard not to talk about my kids. When my kids are happy it is easy for me to be happy. When one of my children is unhappy for any reason whatsoever, it is not so easy for me to be happy, but it is possible. For many years I carried the belief that mothers could only be as happy as their least happy child and since I have four children, there were many opportunities for unhappiness! Today, I do believe that I am a creator of my own reality. My happiness is my responsibility and does not depend on what is happening with any other human being, even the ones I gave birth to. So, why is it that when one of my children call and I see their number on my caller ID, in 2 seconds flat I have a mixed emotion of delight and “Oh My God, I hope everything is OK”? Can you relate?
This weekend I had the privilege of taking my daughter’s Girl Scout troop to an overnight trip to an aquarium where 10 girls and my co-leader and I slept overlooking seals in their tanks. As each mother dropped their daughter off for this overnight experience, I saw the mix of emotions. The moms were obviously happy and excited that their daughters were about to have this new adventure; however, I could not help but notice the hint of apprehension, the concern about whether or not their daughter would brave the aquarium in the night-time without them, the fear that sometimes accompanies letting go.
This morning before leaving the aquarium, we watched the movie “Born to be Wild” which is an amazing documentary about 2 women in Africa who have spent their life raising orphaned elephants and orangutans. The movie was about their quest in replacing the mother for these baby animals. How do you replace a mother? Not easily, as this documentary revealed. It took a team of people, dedication, love and resources. It was quite clear that without the love these creatures would not thrive and some would not survive. After years of having surrogate mothers and getting the animals to a place where they gained skills to live in the wild, they were released to live the life they were born to live. They showed one orangutan who came back to visit his surrogate mother from the wild. After the brief but heartwarming visit, the orangutan and the surrogate mother had to depart again….because the orangutan had to live his destiny. He was “born to be wild”. But really, isn’t that another way to say “born to be free”? And isn’t that what each of our destinies are….to be free? And to be really free is to be happy regardless of what is happening to anyone else, even our children.
Loving is sometimes the same as letting go. We are well-being at our core. We are also love at our core. When we love, our well-being shines through. True love has no judgment. True love is accepting. True love has no expectations. True love is letting go, letting go of others to let them have their own experience, even though it’s a jungle out there!
On this mother’s day, I am appreciating my mother who still prays for me daily, who still worries about me and who I know loves me more than anyone ever will. I appreciate all the mothers on this earth who show up for their children every day, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, whether with riches or in poverty, until their last breath do they love, and then some. Last but not least, I appreciate my four children, who have fulfilled my most important purpose of my life, to be a MOTHER. They have taught me what it feels like to love unconditionally, with all your heart….and then to let go.