Mother’s Day for the Black Sheep

March of 2003; my mother was in a very advanced stage of her final bout with cancer.

Had been visiting for a few days at her place.
It was 10:30 at night, and we had just finished watching a TV program on PBS.
My mother watched lying from her hospital-type incline bed in her bedroom at home.
I sat on the edge of the bed.

Did I do a good job ? “, she asked.
” You mean as a mother? ” I responded.

Did I do a good job ? “, she repeated, her expression serious but calm.
” I think you did the best job you knew how to do at the time. ”

A memorable moment, unusual for its directness, simplicity, honesty.

Really, that’s it, isn’t it ?
We do the best that we know how to do at the time.

My mom and I had had a fairly contentious relationship.
Not a lot of Kodak moments.

What we did have was plenty of conflict, judgement, nonacceptance, disappointment, ego, more ego, anger and drama.

At the end of her life, the stories didn’t matter much, anymore.

Did I do a good job ? ”

Without the early life that happened,
would there have been such a strong drive
to dive into spiritual practices,
to practice the Buddha’s Dharma,
and then finally fall awake ?

Without the early life that happened,
would this blog exist ?

Did I do a good job ? ”

If that moment were to happen today,
my mom would get a different response.

Without hesitation, I would tell her:

” Ma, you did a perfect job. Thank you ! It was exactly what I needed! ”

It was.

Anyone who reads this who feels that they had a ” less than perfect ” relationship with their mother… whatever that means to you, is it possible that whatever transpired has brought unconsidered benefit into life?

More compassion ?
More understanding ?
More strength ?

On this day to remember and thank all mothers ( it’s an actual US holiday )
I invite you to look into the richness of your experience,
the (sometime) complexity of this relationship,
and to see if perhaps more worth noticing awaits,
beyond the habitual patterns
of enshrouding thoughts
and familiar responses.

To all mothers, I bow in humble gratitude.


This SIAOF post was originally published on Mother’s Day, 2012.

The photo of a sheep comes from here:

Thanks to this site for the photo of the rose:

About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
This entry was posted in Human Experience and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Mother’s Day for the Black Sheep

  1. Nice post, Dominic. I can relate.
    ~ Paul

  2. You are singing exactly the same song here as I would, were I to write it. Oh so sweet…. we black sheep share so much…. thank you dear friend.
    Love… L

  3. Lovely post, Dominic; we often forget that moms are people too, beset with fears and illusions that impact our early years in ways they are unable to understand. What a beautiful reflection on compassion and gratitude for the one person in our lives people often find most hard to forgive.

  4. dadirri7 says:

    absolutely just so dominic! we are all doing our best, all of the time, what else can we do? all that i suffered was perfect too … look where it brought me 😀

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