Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mom and Me

I've been thinking a lot about my mom lately. I'd love to post a picture here of her and I together, but sadly I know I won't be able to find one, no matter how long I search through computer files and photo albums. She always was, and still is, a very humble person who is content to serve others from the background. She supports our family in every way. She's my dad's anchor, even though she'd never admit it. She's a pretty wonderful person and I don't think she knows how much she is appreciated.

Growing up, I wished my mom was cooler. I felt like everyone else's mom was so hip, so fashionable, and so in-touch with their kids' feelings. My mom felt like a stranger to me. I longed for a best friend to go shopping with. I cried to myself in my room so many times because I wanted to confide my secrets with her, but I feared that she would judge me, or scold me, or just simply not understand what I was going through. Little did I know that my mom really wasn't that different from my friends' moms.

As a young adult, my mother and I butted heads as I was determined to strike out on my own. I wanted to be an adult, making my own decisions and facing my own consequences, and I refused to let her judgment or opinions steer my path. The possibility of her actually having some life experience never occurred to me. In my mind, she was an ancient relic, unable to relate to modern society for a young person.

As a college graduate, I just kind-of avoided her. I wanted to respect her but I had trouble seeing eye-to-eye with her. So, I ended up growing apart from her. We didn't connect much. The times we saw each other at family get-togethers became more superficial and less meaningful.

But once I became a mother, everything changed. It was impossible for me to imagine her loving me the way I loved my newborn daughter. I couldn't fathom the idea that she, too, held a baby in her arms (ME!) and gazed into its eyes (mine), wondering what the future would hold and praying that God would keep her safe. Over the years, and still today, I find myself saying, "Oh, so THAT'S why my mom did things the way that she did." And, begrudgingly, I find myself realizing that the way my mom ran our household actually did make sense after all.

I don't think my mom did a perfect job, any more than I'm under the illusion that I'm doing a perfect job. I know she made mistakes. There are plenty of things I'm doing now that came from a vow to be a different mom than my own mother. But, for the most part, I'm pretty much a carbon copy of my mom. I call her on the phone WAY more than she calls me, because I need to hear her voice, or ask her a question about a recipe, or how to get a stain out of a pair of pants, or to (gasp!) ask her opinion about discipline.

Turns out, she does know a thing or two.


Jennifer said...

Well we all know how I feel about Mommas. ;)

I remember when I had that moment, looking down at Baby Girl and realizing all of the sudden, "OH MY GOD! This is the way my mom feels about me." And my love for her grew even more at that moment. And I also realized she was right, you just can't understand until you have kids of your own.

Emily said...

I've had the same thoughts about my mom. I wish I had known I'd feel that way when I was growing up! :)

Jen said...

I feel the same way. It is so neat how being a mother myself has brought me closer to my own mother.

A Lil Enchanted said...

Most young people just don't get it until they have kids of their own. When my kids 'don't get it' I find solace in telling myself that they will get it someday when they have their own kids... of course now some of them do have their own kids and they are beginning to appreciate Mom (me) a lil more.

A Lil Enchanted,

Foursons said...

Funny how things turn out like that, huh?

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

You need to send this to her. She'd be blessed.

I was!