I saw a P&G commercial this morning that honors mother’s and it was very touching. As a mother, it’s hard to explain what I see when I look at my children because I look at them with “mother’s eyes.” It’s not that I don’t see their flaws, weaknesses or imperfections, because I do. And, it’s not just seeing in them their best qualities, their strengths, and their values because they are my children and I love them dearly. It’s so much more than that. It’s seeing their unlimited potential, their ability to change the world, to make a difference.
When you first get handed your little precious bundle of joy, the love you feel can be overwhelming. After you get done counting their little fingers and toes and complaining about the labor pains, you already start having dreams for this baby’s future. You hold on to your dreams until they start having dreams of their own. Then you let go of your dreams and support and encourage them in the things they choose to do and what’s important to them. It’s not always easy either. We want our children to always be healthy and happy in life. Even when they take their first steps, we are standing right there to catch them if they fall. We never want them to be hurt or disappointed. But we can’t protect them forever. All too soon they go out in the real world and interact with other people who don’t see them through a “mother’s eyes.” They become one of many and experience things we can no longer shelter them from. People aren’t going to love them the way a mother does or see them through the same loving eyes. So when they get hurt, physically or emotionally, it’s mom that they come home to, it’s mom who comforts them and takes away the pain. It’s mom who restores their confidence and helps them go on.
And when they have dreams, when they want to try new things, when they have goals and aspirations, it’s mom who is their biggest cheerleader and supporter. It’s mom who helps pave the road for success. It’s mom who helps remove the obstacles in their way. It’s mom who is right there, along side them, to help and guide them to success. It’s mom who sees their full potential and helps them strive to reach it. When they are building castles in the sand, we see an architect; when they are trying to defend themselves for something they have done wrong, we see a lawyer in the making; when they are showing a younger sibling how to do their homework, we see a professor; when they are nurturing their baby dolls, we see a mother. They may not end up being any of those things, but the potential is always there and a mother sees it, even if no one else does.
Imagine what our own mothers felt and thought when they looked at us? I remember always thinking that I wanted to make my mother proud of me, in everything I did. That was very important to me, the way she saw me and what she thought of me. To me it seemed she only saw my imperfections and criticized me too much. Maybe that was her way of “helping” me reach my full potential…the potential she saw when I was first handed to her.
I wonder what my own daughters think I see, when I look at them? If they can ever imagine the dreams I had and still do, for their futures. Sometimes well meaning criticism it not what children hear when they are striving to please. Sometimes they just hear criticism. But if they think back, like I have with my mother, they might realize all the times I have been there, right by their side. They might remember how I made sure to do everything in my power to help them succeed. Maybe they will realize how proud I am of them and how much I love them. Or maybe, it will take having a baby of their own, one they look at through a mother’s eyes, to know how much they mean to me.