A Mother's Learning

A Mother's Learning
Fecha de publicación: 
12 May 2024
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The one in the title, besides one of those ways we Cubans are used to saying that something is difficult is also a literal expression, because we are talking about mothers here, now that Mother’s day is near.

Being a mother is much more than those flowery postcards, more than the sweet images of ladies cradling their babies wrapped in tender colors. The photos of kisses and hugs are just passages of a long, wonderful and very difficult majoring from which one can never graduate.

Soon, like a May downpour, the sweetened chronicles will arrive flooding the press media, the texts where it’s repeated, in different tones, that “there is only one mother”, and there will be cascades of adjectives describing the greatness, the dedication, the immense love that distinguishes mothers.

But we should also talk about how difficult it is, how, together with our children, we have to learn to grow in that profession of accompany them in forging and defending their happiness.

It’s written in a few words, but there’s nothing more complicated than learning to let them stumble, make mistakes, fall and get back up on their feet alone.

Because it hurts, more than if it were oneself who makes a mistake or gets hurt; but it’s the way to help them grow.

And the first time they go to school or a little party alone, you stay up with your heart pounding, repeating to yourself a thousand times that everything will be fine, although in any case, you wait for him awake looking at the clock every five minutes.

And when they get sick, when the teacher gives you a complaint, when you know that they didn't study enough for the test; or when, like now, you have to juggle with economy to feed them and understand that the lollypop or the cookies can't be bought now... so many "whens" that pave the way to motherhood and not collecting the postcards!

Afterwards, they will choose partners, studies, jobs... their path in life, which sometimes it takes them far, far away from you. But always, like new seasons of a series that does not end, there will be other concerns, anguish, and, furthermore, the satisfaction of knowing that they are capable, upright, and that - not only in this or that gesture, in the shape of their eyebrows or in the color of their eyes - also in the way you make decisions, behave, be, is the result of your work.

The calendars will pass and one day you realize the hug they gave you, in addition to affection, it tastes like protection and support. In that moment you realize that you have become your son's daughter.

The troubadour asked years ago in his song “Who has a son in the entrails? / Who is giving him breakfast to charge him tomorrow? Yes, of course it's horrible just thinking about it; the worries, the struggles big or small ones that we spend with our children are an “all inclusive” in the love for them. But if that love returns to you also as care, concerns,  sometimes even as scoldings: “Did you see that blouse you're wearing, does it have a stain?", you might think that you earned it, that you did things well.

Later, when the grandchildren come - which is not always - and you discover in their eyebrows, in their eyes, those features of yours that the mirror returns to you along with the wrinkles; then, that strange fluttering in your stomach starts and you exclaim for yourself, for your mirror of the soul: Jesus! That can't either be seen on postcards with little flowers.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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