Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother's Prayer

This poem was written about and for my daughters.

A Mother's Prayer

When I look at you, almost all grown, I wonder where the time went.
And I wonder if I have prepared you well for life.
There are no words for the depth of love I feel for you. It's a love that defies description.
It began before your birth and it will endure until the end of time.
Within that fierce love, my intention was to teach you about kindness and strength and unconditional love by the example of how I lived my life.

More times than I care to remember I have fallen short of that intention.
Sometimes I spent more time conditioned by the past, or worried about the future, and neglected to actually be present in the moment with you.
If I had it to do over again, I'd spend less time worried about what others thought and more time looking into your eyes to see how you felt.
I'd listen more to my heart and less to the "experts".

For the times that my mistakes may have hurt you, disappointed you or let you down, I apologize and ask you to forgive my flaws. May you instead remember the truth of who we both are; people doing the best we can with the knowledge we have...people learning and growing, who are deserving of unconditional love, dignity and respect.

I embrace and honour your gifts and your innocence. I see your value and your wisdom. May the beauty, power and vision of your youth change me...change the world.

Thank you for the gift you are in my life; for being one of my greatest teachers. My wish for you is that you will always find light in the darkest of times, and that you will know, without a doubt, that you matter and that you are never alone. My wish for me is that I remain open and trusting in our relationship and never grow too old to learn.

May we have many more years of learning and growing together.

And so it is.

Denise Cunningham 2009

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Honouring My Adopted Mom

Dear Audrey,

Your 75th birthday would have been May 2, 2010 and Mother's day is coming up on the 8th. It feels fitting to post this remembrance of you today.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and I wonder if you know, that in opening your door and your heart to me, your family became my village. When my mother's drinking days were at their hiatus, being cocooned in the warmth of your home saved me from a path of self-destruction that I don't want to go down in my imagination, even now.
I marvel at your strength and your courage and your grace. You already had 2 daughters, 4 step-sons and a son when I arrived on your doorstep at the age of 14. You worked full-time outside the home, full-time inside the home, and somehow you always made time for me.
You taught me that there are no limits on the amount of love someone can give and you taught me that there is no upset that a cup of tea won't soothe. This is something that I've passed on to my daughters. Whenever they have a personal crisis or we have a family one, the first thing that happens is that the kettle goes on.
And now that you have ended your days on this plane I hope you know how much your life impacted mine. How your willingness to respond to a young girl in trouble showed me that I mattered. The greatest way I know to honour you and your life is to pay it forward. I provide a safe haven for the "homeless" children who arrive on my doorstep. Some of them stay for a short time and some of them for a longer time. I make sure that all of them know that they matter.
God bless you on this part of your journey. You have been a great teacher. You made me a better person and a better mother. I will be forever grateful for that. I love you and my spirit is with you. Please know that you will live in my heart always.
Love Denise