When you make it a point to really forgive someone you can start to see them in a whole new light. Recently, I got a glimpse of my mother in a way that really made me sympathize for her — something that I rarely felt in my life towards my mother (or at least willing to admit).
A few days ago we were at the neighborhood swimming pool and I brought an inner tube that was given to me last year for my 25th birthday. My mother can’t swim and so she wanted to borrow it to see what it was like.
She puts the float on and places it around her belly. Then she starts to circle the edge of the pool by grabbing on to the sides and slowly scooting herself all the way around the perimeter. I tell her that she can let go and that nothing will happen.
She gives it a try and suddenly races back to the edge of the pool saying, “I feel like I’m going to drown and that I can’t breathe.”
I’ve known my mother can’t swim my whole life but I never really paid much attention to how much it affected her.
Her fear came from a childhood memory of when she lived on a large farm in rural Colombia. My aunt, who was slightly older, dumped my two-year-old mother into a large tank of water. My mother started thrashing around and screaming for help and finally my aunt came to her aid and saved her. Why my aunt did this, I may never know — I suspect sibling rivalry.
Since then, my mother has never learned to swim and has always had a fear of going into the pool’s deep end. The experience on the farm was traumatizing she said.
So what does a good mother do? A mother that doesn’t want her child to experience the same? She puts her in swimming lessons as early as possible.
It was this recent pool day that I truly felt the love that I doubted for so long. That anything my mother was never privy to she had granted to me. She put me in swimming lessons, she bought me singing lessons, she let me travel and always gave me my freedom. Things that she had always hoped and wished for herself.
Not everyone shows love the same way and it’s important that we accept people for who they are, especially family. My mother has always shown me love but because it wasn’t the way I wanted it, I wasn’t open to receiving it.
Now, at 26, I’m embracing any chance I get to witness that love and remember how much she sacrificed for me.