Happy Mother’s Day! Today is one of the most celebrated days of the year in the United States that honors our mothers, yet many of us barely know the rock stars these women are beyond their role of mother in our lives. One way to get to know your mother in a new way is to start saying your mother’s first name (and middle if she has one) out loud to yourself.
“Grace Rose.” Whoa. Who’s that? At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. All it took was my mother’s cancer diagnosis to change that. Don’t wait for a crisis or funeral like I did to learn the secret that your mother’s first name holds.
Being willing to know your mother at a deeper level is an act of courage. Calling her by her first name rather than Mom or Mother or Mama, even if just to yourself, acknowledges that she is more than just your mother. She is not just there to meet your every need. She is a woman in her own right, with hopes and dreams and needs and desires just like you.
Consider asking your mother to try an experiment with you. Ask her if you may call her by her first name a few times to see if it expands your awareness of her as a friend. If she says no, you can still say her first name to yourself when you think of her. What will begin to happen is that as you allow your awareness of her to expand, she may share parts of herself that you have never known about or even thought to ask about. Secrets that hold the key to releasing a painful memory or understanding a confusing part of yourself may surface. If you prepare and welcome her into your heart as you would a close friend, her truth will be a gift of self-discovery for both of you.
Sarah’s mother was in her eighties and in poor health. She experienced her mother as a cranky woman with whom she found it very difficult to talk. One day, in frustration, Sarah yelled her mother’s name, “Olivia!” Startled, her mother began to cry. Overcome with guilt, Sarah called out in a soft, loving voice, “Olivia, Olivia, I love you, Olivia.” From that time on, Sarah recalls that she never looked at her mother the same way. “My mother became a person to me. She was no longer ‘just’ my mother. I realized that she really was separate from me and had a right to her feelings, just as I did, no matter how ill-tempered she was. I was able to love her more fully after that.”
Have you ever called your mother by her first name? What is your mother’s first name (and middle name if she has one) and what has your experience been? Share your thoughts in comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy Mother’s Day Grace Rose. You lived your first name. I love you.
Excerpted from “My Mother, My Friend: The 10 Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother” by Mary Marcdante.