My precious baby girl has had a little difficulty remembering to turn in her reading log at school lately. After receiving yet another less-than-stellar grade in reading, I sat her down for a little come-to-Jesus meeting about turning in her assignments. Her defense was the same as every other child’s on the planet. “Mom, I didn’t mean to!”
I leaned forward on my elbows and stared her down. “You have to mean not to!”
The exact instant that the words left my lips, I clamped my hand over my mouth. My eyes doubled in size. I just channeled my mother!
When I was a teenager, just the thought of turning into my mother was frightening. After all, it would be taking a step backward since I was already infinitely smarter and wiser than she. Sometime during my early twenties, my mother and I began to reconcile our awkward relationship. I was an adult, paying my own bills and building a career, but I still fibbed about my alcohol consumption and love of nicotine. I elevated every boy I dated to saint status and only called her to check in on Sunday if I had managed to drag myself out of bed and to church. Whenever I visited home, I began prioritizing my time for my mother in my social schedule, but partly because I wanted lasagna and gas money home.
And then my daughter was born…
My mother held my hand the day I pushed out that tiny, squalling, slimy creature. She slept beside me in a chair despite how much I knew it pained her back. She helped me change that first black-tar, pasty poo diaper that convinced me that my daughter had the plague. She assured me I wasn’t the world’s worst mom because I never could get the hang of nursing. I found myself calling her nearly every day because I needed her and she never failed to answer.
I finally understood the statement “this hurts me more than hurts you.”
I finally understood that her anger with me was only a byproduct of being worried about me.
I finally understood the fear that only comes with being a mother.
Now that I am an adult, fully independent, I no longer care if my mother is disappointed in me. I live openly and honestly in front of her. I lay all of my hopes and dreams, failures and fears wide open for her to see. She never judges me – only prays for me and encourages me. I care not if my mother sees me how I truly am, but I care more than ever in my life that I make her proud.
Today is Mother’s Day and maybe the only gift I can really give to my mom is to tell her that I am honestly proud that I am becoming more and more like her. I am not stupid enough to believe that my daughter and I will never clash as she hits those imminent teenage years – she is my daughter after all. I just hope on the other side of it that she will have learned from me what I learned from my mother: faith, integrity, honesty, strength, and kindness.
Love you, M*M.
“And thou shalt in thy daughter see, This picture, once, resembled thee.” – Ambrose Phillips