I consider myself lucky to have had a mother who really loved me. She was not perfect, she had her shortcomings like every human being but never once did I seriously doubt that her kids were not an important part of her life. For me having a good enough mother meant:
Knew that I was loved
I knew I was loved period. Not for how well I did in school or how nicely I behaved. I could just enjoy living in the moment, playing, jumping and exploring. I was free to me.
Free to express my feelings
I could voice my anger, jealousy, have a temper tantrum, fight and argue and not feel bad about it. I remember once accusing my mother of loving my brother more and she calmly explained: “You know it is not true, I have to be softer with him because of Daddy.” I understood because my father would pick on my brother more than me. Deep down it made me want to protect my brother too.
My feelings were respected
She would never force me to do something I did not want to or was not comfortable doing. She let me choose. I remember one Christmas day, I asked my mother which dress should I wear. She gave me her suggestion, to which I promptly countered that I would wear the one with flowers which I liked. Her only response was “Why do you ask?” Unfortunately for me while I went to iron the dress, the dress got burnt and I quietly put it aside. The next day when she went to use the pressing iron, she discovered what had happened as the burnt fabric was stuck to the iron. I found her painstakingly taking out the burnt fabric, guilty I confessed what had happened and her only response was, “I wondered why you were suddenly obedient.”
Mistakes were tolerated and forgiven
Being a normal active child I was always jumping and running around. Once while she was at work, and the maid was entreating me to take a bath, my brother lost his patience and decided to take a bath first at which I tried to race him to the bathroom. I slipped and cracked my head. Fortunately, it was a minor hurt but had to be taken to the doctor. Not once did my mother admonish me about being disobedient or anything of that sort. Her only reaction was the slight pursing of her lips which was enough for me to feel repentant.
Enjoyment, Fun, and Laughter
She made small moments, great moments. Like when she’d come from work and my father was not home, my brother would suggest we go up on our tiny terrace for our dinner and she gamely would carry our dinner up a precarious step-ladder and the 3 of us would sit up on the terrace having our dinner enjoying the thrill of the moment. Even when she was dying of cancer she would tell my brother to say she was not home when I returned from school and then would surprise me by ringing doorbell. I remember thinking how can she be so frivolous when she knows she is going to die soon.
“Mother of mine you gave to me, all of my life to do as I please,
I owe everything I have to you,
Mother sweet mother of mine.”
Healing from the Complex-PTSD means that I can think of my mother without feeling that terrible sadness and pain. Today on her death anniversary I am filled with gratitude and remember the love and joy she brought to my life. I have tried to be a good enough mother to my son and hope he, in turn, will be a good enough father to his kids. That is the only gift a human being needs to grow up happy and mentally healthy.