As parents, we spend a fair amount of time agonizing over our mistakes. Certainly, we would have done many things differently. If only we hadn’t been grown children ourselves when we made our relationship choices and eventually married. Most of us had no idea our marriages would end. If we had, we wouldn’t have walked […]
The sun is starting to warm the morning sky. I am walking with my friends “Cookie” and “Candy.” Our conversation turns towards Mother’s Day.
We chat about the influence mothers have on their children. I am reminded of the day my friend “Rosalita” said goodbye to her mother.
“I wish you knew my mother,” says Rosalita
“But I do know your mother,” I say. “Because I know you and to know you is to know your mom.”
When I was growing up I found myself caught between two holidays. There was Father’s Day that I could not celebrate and Mother’s Day that I couldn’t celebrate enough. I always wanted to be a daddy’s girl – probably because for the first five years of my life I was. Then he left and I wasn’t. I don’t know why no one ever says, “I was a mommy’s girl,” but they should and I was.
After all, she was the one who never left me.
She never forgot that she was a mother.
She never forgot that she loved me.
She never forgot that I needed her.
She never let me down.
She taught us to love our father despite his shortcomings and to know that he loved us.
That being said my mother was a firecracker. She was strong and confident with unyielding opinions. If she liked you then you knew it and if she didn’t you were well aware of it. She was a difficult and not so subtle communicator.
My mother was also overly empathetic, ridiculously loving, kind, thoughtful, caring, charitable, responsible and steadfast. A fighter whose great faith never allowed her to feel sorry for herself though I am certain there were times that she did.
In my younger years I could be critical of my mom. In my infinite wisdom I would assess her choices and her less than subtle and strong personality.
I am now older and wiser. I am frightened and unsure. I can’t believe I am now living in her shadow. A soon to be single mom.
My judgements have subsided.
I am no longer critical of my outspoken mom. I now pray to God that I am like her. I now pray that I possess what my youthful self found to be her more challenging qualities.
I pray that I am my mother’s daughter.
More specifically I pray I am Rosemarie’s daughter. Rosemarie the outspoken northerner who didn’t let anyone mess with her, yet felt the pain of everyone. Rosemarie who was difficult enough to not give up and loving enough to be all things to her children.
Rosemarie who picked herself up when left alone to raise five children. Rosemarie who more than likely put her head on her pillow some nights frightened like me though I never knew it.
How I hope to God I am like her.
How I hope to God I have that beautiful, confident, outspoken, New Yorker inside of me.
Because if I do then I know my children will be okay.
They will find their way – through joy and hope and sadness and despair and love and loss and beginnings and endings and laughter and silence and friendship and estrangement and confusion and clarity.
I will know that though ‘single’ I will be enough for them.
I don’t know why no one ever says, “I was a mommy’s girl,” but they should and I was.