I watched a movie with my family last night that left a deep impression. It was not a huge box office success and it went quietly to video with no awards or fanfare, but it left a tremendous impression on me. The movie was Marley. Maybe you have seen it. If not, here is the basic story line.
A young married couple embarks on their lifelong journey together with promising careers as journalists. They are young, happy and in love, and she, the more disciplined and ambitious of the two, systematically checks the boxes in her 7 step plan for life. They are approaching the ‘children box’ at a different pace, so the husband decides to stall the inevitable by getting Marley, better known as ‘the clearance puppy.’
Marley is ‘the worst dog in the world’ and destroys nearly everything he touches except their hearts. Surprisingly, the husband finds his voice and his fame as a columnist in writing about everyday adventures of their life with Marley. His career flourishes. The couple is eventually blessed with children, three of them in fact, and life changes. It is not bad. It’s just not at all what they expected. Upon the arrival of child number two, she decides to sacrifice her career to be a full time mom and discovers that motherhood is more challenging than she could have possibly anticipated. At one particularly stressful period, they are all ready to throw in the towel.
In a defining moment, she admits to her husband that it is all more overwhelming than she imagined. “I have given up so much of what it is that made me, me,” she confesses. This is the turning point that every mother reaches. We have lost our self. Or at least we think we have, because we are looking in the wrong places. We are measuring our lives in terms of our ‘independence’ instead of our ‘interdependence’.
The great Stephen Covey writes about this in his book, “The seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He reminds us that we come into the world dependent on others, then transition to a phase of independence and eventually, through maturity, we reach our most important and meaningful phase—that of interdependence. Interdependence is the power curve of life, in which we realize that our contribution, gifts and relationships create and shape our life much more than our ‘independence’ ever could. This is the essences and beauty of mother hood. I bet almost every mother can remember the exact moment in which she realized this simple truth. And even though it seems we have given up our independence, we really find ourselves in our ‘interdependence’.
To most, the movie Marley was about the joys, sorrows and unconditional love that our pets provide and the unforgettable imprint they leave in our hearts. To me, this movie was much more. Mother’s Day is a celebration of our interdependence. On Mother’s Day, our loved ones engage in a valiant and heartfelt effort to create for us “the perfect day.” This mother’s day, I got breakfast in bed compliments of my son and received a beautiful necklace he made from herbs from his garden. I am wearing an exquisite pair of beaded earrings made by my daughter, and received an early morning surprise from my husband of 15 years. They even allowed me an hour of writing time so I could make this tribute to the mom’s of the world. My family is giving me the perfect day!
As Mother’s, we must embrace these tributes from our loved ones while remembering that while Mother’s Day is special, each day is a perfect day. For it is in the journey, not the destination that mothers make their biggest impact and are at their interdependent best. May God bless all the mothers on the planet and allow them to enjoy their perfect day!
Copywright, 2009: Kim Bauer, wife, mother, and writer