Yesterday gave me the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my mom. The majority of my life I viewed her as simply “my mom.” Not until I was married with a baby of my own did I finally get a glimpse into all the parts of my mom that I never really saw before.
I have realized over the years that my mom is very much human. She feels deeply. She’s sensitive. A trait that I have inherited 100%. She’s stronger than I ever believed, facing life’s hard truths and often putting on a very brave face. She’s faced an illness that has no cure with her chin up when I’m sure there are times she wants to give up instead. She loves my dad…a lot. She is as crafty as they come. She’ll kick your ass in a game of scrabble. She’ll give you her opinion whether you ask or not. If she doesn’t like you it’s obvious. If you cross her she has no problem kicking you out of her circle without a goodbye. She tries new things…climbing into a kayak for the first time at 64. Getting her first tattoo a few years ago. Sometimes she struggles with the past.
We fought a lot when I was a bratty teenager. We laugh about it now. I never realized that the sound of my hairspray and the sticky residue it left behind on the bathroom door drove her nearly insane by the time I moved out. Or how the spoons with remnants of peanut butter on them left in my room could have possibly invited a tribe of ants into our house. Wasn’t she just being dramatic? My head would surely turn 360 degrees on my neck if I found an old moldy hard roll under one of my kid’s beds which is exactly what my mom found in mine once.
Through all these ups and downs of our mother/daughter relationship I do know these things for sure: I know that she never stopped being my biggest cheerleader. I have saved texts that she sent me telling me how talented I am and how I deserve better then I got from people who didn’t appreciate my kindness. She saved my home made gifts. She still has the bean necklace I made her in kindergarten. And the note I wrote the tooth fairy in first grade when my tooth fell out of my lunch box on the way home from school. She loves my husband and my children with all of her heart. She drops everything when I need her – no matter the time or place.
I’m still bratty sometimes. Aren’t we all? I still get short with my mom on occasion. I don’t think that makes me a bad daughter. I think it makes me human. I try not to take for granted the fact that I have my mom by my side and unfortunately know that it won’t be forever. I’m thankful for growing up the way that I have with my mom only a phone call away. Not everyone is as fortunate. I hope as my kids grow they realize that I too am human. And for the many faults that I do have – there are just as many good parts. I save the home made gifts. I fight because I love them. I drop everything when they need me. I love their dad…a lot. And truth be told – I’m pretty good at scrabble.
I’m still growing as a mom…and especially as a human. I don’t always do the right things. I don’t always earn the blue ribbon. Recognizing the good parts and the not so good parts in others but more importantly in ourselves is a positive step in growth. With growth comes understanding. I think that’s something we all need a little more of.