Does a butterfly remember when it was a caterpillar? While floating freely among the daisies, does it ever reflect on its early days spent scaling leaves a millimeter at a time? And does it ever feel nostalgic for the dark cocoon that held its dramatic transformation?
It's hard to say. But like each of us, the butterfly probably didn't feel anything but whole at every stage of its metamorphosis. And every "me" that you've been is still right there in the "you" of today. Yet there's something that draws us back to the cocoon--to those open arms where we first felt safe and whole. This is our symbolic (if not literal) mother. And so, whether our mothers are physically here or not... or whether they are entirely different from the traditional "mother" figure, we continue to find ourselves through and because of them.
I know this because I was and am these arms, and, on some days, I long for them, too. I was once the little girl relishing her mother's warm hug. I was the young parent full of hope and uncertainty for the long road of parenting ahead. I was the doting, stretched-too-thin mother raising four children, three of whom are now young adults. And as my parenting role has shifted through all the stages, so did my role with my own mother. Yet through it all, my mom and I continue to support each other through every new chapter, even now.