It’s Mother’s Day in Sweden today, and this piece is for you, Mom. I’ve had this on my mind for a long time now…
This is yet another Open Heart piece.
If you have a mother you already know that the mother/daughter relationship is probably the most amazing and strongest energy on earth. And I know, there are some unfortunate daughters out there that did not get an amazing birthmother but luckily, most of the time, you will still have another mother figure, a queen, in your life.
I don’t know if it’s a generational factor or if it is a commonality to developing countries but I certainly think that me and my mother are worlds apart. My family history has its root in Chile and I always find my mother’s story to be fascinating but mostly hard and sacrificing. And when I say common to developing countries I am referring to the typical immigrant story. My grandfather, a policeman, migrated to Sweden in the midst of Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile (as many other Chileans did during 1973). My mother was 15 years old, and by then her parents were divorced already so she worked her ass off as a busser, as a kitchen helper, and/or in a cleaning service company in order to pay the airfares for her two younger siblings and her mother, a housewife, in order to keep the family together in one country. What did I do when I was 15? I hung out with my friends, lived comfortably, did gymnastics, had a boyfriend, and did not have to work at all. And that is what I mean when I refer to a generational factor. It doesn’t matter if you are a first generation Swede or a second generation immigrant Swede; our lives are most likely different to our parent’s life from when they were 15. The quality of life seems to better by observation, both in developed countries like in developing countries.
Nevertheless, parallel to her multiple work situations, my mother went to school and learned a clean and fluent new language: Swedish. She studied some more, and is today a paramedic by profession and a group leader of a geriatric home in Stockholm, Sweden. On a personal level she went through her parent’s divorce as a teenager, her own divorce with my biological father in her early 20s while I was still a baby, and two back spine surgeries due to spinal disc herniation. Regardless of all these limitations that she had to overcome she still had the strength to make a heck of a job as a Supermom. She was there with my new dad to make sure we had love, a healthy diet, played sports, got good grades, and lived out our passions. I have the best memories of picnics at nearby lakes, family reunions with the bigger part of the family, recordings of our family vacations, and so on. She is seriously the most inspirational women in my eyes. No one will be able to top her unconditional work as a mother, and I can only hope that one day I will be able to perform as a Supermom as good as she did, and still does.
Last summer my mother came to visit me, and this time she came without my dad, and no offense to my dad, but we created some beautiful memories together. We enjoyed her time in San Diego, we went to LA for a weekend, walked around in the fashion district, and went to a Marc Anthony concert, which was amazing by the way, but it was that night that I decided to have an open heart conversation with my mother under an ethylic state of mind, which I feel came out completely wrong.
Here’s the thing, we all have emotional baggage that is either created through observation or direct experiences, no question about it. And, I guess that the only thing that differentiate a person from another is how well (or bad) we deal with our emotional baggage in our adult life. So that night I found myself blaming her for a few issues that I still can’t get over. My mother is such a smart women that she just listened to me and took my hand and supported my emotional rant and decided to not make any inputs right there because she explained to me later that having an adult conversation with a drunk person will not lead to a solution. That’s just how emotionally intelligent she is, which I love about her! Here comes the tough part. When it was time to have this adult and rational conversation she broke down and explained her point of view on the issues that I was having “because of her.” She told me about decisions that she had chosen to take in her life, putting us “kids” and family over her own feelings but not necessarily as an example to follow, those were simply her choices and didn’t want me to feel like she was an unhappy woman because of them. She made it very clear that she was happy with her life, with all her struggles and heartaches included, and that she wouldn’t change a thing. I swallowed my pain of watching her cry and tried to be strong for her sake but it was right then and there when I realized that as almighty as she will always be in my eyes, she is a wife and a daughter too, with her own demons from her experiences. Sure, she is my mother, but first and foremost she is a woman with her own emotional baggage. My issues instantly ‘poofed’ away. I felt bad for even had thought of blaming my parents for “issues” that I still might have. There is no perfect parenting book, and from all the love that I get from my family, I am a hundred percent confident in saying that my mom did everything in her power to make my upbringing a loving, healthy and a happy one. I love you mom for the extraordinary mother, wife, daugther, and friend you are and have been, always.
So, there is this song that I’ve been listening to a lot. Is by Ana Tijoux (feat. RR Burning), one of the greatest, if not the only, female rappers in Chile. The song is called “Emilia,” and she wrote it for her daughter when she was born. There is a part that I think is so poetic, and it goes like this:
“Y es que estamos, tu y yo, ya amarraditas
por un lazo maternal de arterias y de vitaminas
en esta trenza entrelazada…”
I love that part, RR Burning’s deep voice, and how charged the song is with Latinamerican musicial instruments. It’s one of my favorite songs right now on my iTunes, and I always think about you when it plays. I thought you would like it too.
Te quiero hasta el cielo Mamita!
Miss Natalia Silva