Seeing Your Mother with Different Eyes

Seeing Your Mother with Different Eyes *

* This month’s inspiring story is taken from A Mother’s Dreams in “How to Manage Your Mother” by Alyce Faye Cleese and Brian Bates.

Carla Santos Shamberg’s mother was a second generation German Lutheran immigrant to new York . Like many of her generation, she dressed conservatively, as was proper for a wife and mother several decades ago in her home culture. All her life she wore simple clothes and plain brown, low heeled shoes. When she died Carla went to mother’s apartment to sort out and pack her belongings. “I went through her shoe closet,” Carla said. “She had saved what seemed like five hundred plain worn down brown pumps.”

But when Carla cleared them away she found, hidden at the back of the wardrobe, a shoebox. Opening it, she discovered a beautiful pair of gold colored, high heeled evening shoes. They had never been worn. Gazing at these elegant gold shoes, Carla realized that they represented her mother’s hopes, dreams and aspirations through many years of honest plain living as a mother.

“They had just sat in the box all that time. I thought that was the saddest thing I’d ever known. She had a hard life, and I think she was disappointed not to have been able to do more with it.”

Carla’s discovery of the gold shoes revealed a hidden side of her mother. She was a woman who had lived a life serving her family but who secretly yearned  for something more.

So what does Carla’s story tell us about the sacrifice of being a mother? It encapsulates one of the most important lessons in understanding a mother. The shoes symbolize feminine elegance, glamor, allure, romance … but none of those words is usually associated with being a mother. Mothering evokes qualities such as warmth, patience, caring, and mentoring … but we need to remember that these qualities can never define the whole of a woman’s psyche.

Val’s comment: As adult women we can understand all the elements we possess, but when it comes to how we see our mothers we often still see them through the eyes of a child.

Marlene’s comment: As a mother whisperer it is important for us to connect with the dreams, wishes and perhaps regrets that our mother’s have tucked away out of sight for many years in order to fulfill the needs of the family.  I wonder what the conversation  would have sounded like had Carla discovered the shoes before her mother was gone.

Please make an appointment to talk about what's going in your relationship and to see if coaching or our services would help!