I am writing to you from our future to thank you for everything you have and will ever do for me. I feel so lucky to be your child. In this opportunity to look back, I want to share an insight I discovered.
When I was an infant you taught me all about selfless love. You allowed me to grow inside of your body, feeding and nourishing me. When I entered the world, you held me and kept me warm. I could feel your caring love right away. Even though we were now separate, my existence was fully dependent on you. You continued to feed me and protect me and watch me grow. Your face was the first I recognized and I would smile when I saw you.
As a toddler I started to develop my sense of independence. You were still the first person I would run to when anything didn’t work out in the manner my naive mind imagined. You would still hold me and love me and feed me. You kept me safe and watched closely as I began to explore the world further from your protection. You drove me everywhere and took me to experiences that would stimulate my mind and allow us time away from our home to bond together.
As I look back and observe the end of my first decade, that time when I was knocking on the door of becoming a teenager, I started to notice something that wasn’t clear to me when it was happening. My sense of independence was growing. I was becoming more and more interested in exploring alone, cultivating friendships with my peers, and generally wanting to figure things out for myself. Of course we both remember this was a rough and awkward time and things didn’t always go as planned in my mind. You were there to comfort and support me in this journey. Now from this perspective as I recollect all that happened, I see you were always there, waiting to protect me. I was still the little child in your eyes, that grew inside of you, dependent completely on you for my existence. Your love for me was so strong, that in many ways your purpose when I was born became to be a mom to me for all of time. What a beautiful expression of love.
What I recognize now, what feels so vital to share, is that for most of my later childhood and into my young adult life you were perpetually on call, waiting and ready at the drop of a hat to comfort me, love me, and help me navigate whatever hardship I had brought onto myself. Being a parent was your primary mission, it was your purpose, and had your full devotion. I am forever grateful for your commitment and selfless love. It is instrumental in me becoming who I am. And with the benefit of hindsight, an understanding of what love and sacrifice is, I want to propose that we do things a little different as our journey progresses.
I do not want you to sacrifice your own sense of self for my sake. You modeled selfless love so perfectly when I was a young child. That lesson will stick with me for life. What I need to see from you in my middle and late childhood is a model of self love. I know it is asking a lot for things to be different. I promise, you will still be there and be needed to comfort me as things in my life will not go as expected. Instead of just standing by, instead of your purpose being solely to be a mother, I need you to demonstrate how to be a whole person, a balanced person. It isn’t selfish at all for you to take care of yourself. In fact, our whole family circle will thrive when there is strength at the hub. Mom, you are the center of our family circle. I will learn by watching you; I appreciate all the talks and advice. Words of wisdom are a great start, but the behaviors you model will be what I emulate. If you want me to grow into a healthy and balanced adult, then model health and balance at home. It isn’t selfish for you to take care of yourself. It isn’t selfish for you to have a purpose and a passion outside of your role as my mother. I want to see that as I grow. I need to see that as I grow. If I don’t, I will likely be getting a note like this from my child because patterns repeat unless we stop them.
Thanks again mom for everything. Thanks for loving me enough to take care of yourself. I am excited to see where our journey takes us.
Dr. Peter Swanz received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ.
Dr. Swanz was awarded the prestigious Daphne Blayden award for his commitment to Naturopathic Medicine, Academic Excellence, Compassion, Perseverance, a Loving Sense of Humor and a Positive, Supportive Outlook by his colleagues and staff at SCNM.
He is a Board Certified Naturopathic Physician with advanced training in classical homeopathy and nutrition. Dr. Swanz is a Fellow of the Homeopathic Association of the Naturopathic Physicians. He currently supports individuals on the journey to health through his Vital Force Naturopathy practice, integrating the best of his conventional and holistic medical training. Dr. Swanz specializes in homeopathy, pediatrics and family medicine. He is passionate about healing and is driven by the desire to see all people be the most healthy individual they can be.