“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
~A.A. Milne, from "Winnie the Pooh"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Becoming My Mother....

Do you remember how often you swore to yourself when you were a kid that the last person you would ever turn out to be was your mother?

 I remember clearly thinking to myself, sometimes what seems like a hundred times a day, "When I have kids, I'm never going to do that" or "I'd let my kids do that". I sincerely thought in my childish mind that I was going to be the coolest mom ever. How was I going to accomplish this lofty goal? By doing everything the opposite of my mom. I was not going to be as strict, or as restrictive, or as thoroughly uncool. I would never be an embarrassment. They would always be proud to tell people I was their mom.
Fast forward several years to when Caleb was around 2. He had done something to get into trouble (at this point, I have no idea what!) and I was standing in his room giving him a stern talking to. At some point during my lecture, the strangest thing happened. I opened my mouth and my mom came out. I knew it the instant it happened and that realization hit me upside the head like a ton of bricks. I stopped in mid-sentence, closed my mouth and just walked out of his room.
I spent many hours contemplating when exactly I had went from standing so fiercely in opposition against everything my mother stood for and actually turned into her.

 As it happens, I am more and more like her in the way I parent my kids with every passing year. With the recession of all of my teenage angst, as well as a few years of actually being a mother myself, I have realized that, quite frankly, a parent simply isn't doing their job if their kids don't think they hate them every once in a while.
Turns out, being my mother isn't such a bad thing.

 I realize that not all moms were like mine. Not every woman is a good one. It takes a woman who is tough, who is stubborn as a mule, who is actively a part of their child's life, regardless of whether that child wants to let them in or not. Yet that same hard as steel, determined woman must be loving, compassionate, nurturing and patient. Big shoes to fill.
My mom did it gracefully. She was a single mother who worked her tail off, sometimes working two jobs to make ends meet. She started college when I was in the third grade and even though a 4 year degree took until my senior year to achieve, she graduated. She bought the house that I live in now by herself, and even when times were tough, we always had food on the table and clothes on our backs. She was strict. VERY strict. But she was raising a wild teenage daughter. Now that I'm a mom, I understand that you do what you have to do, even things you detest, like spying and doling out punishment, because you will literally do whatever it takes, at whatever personal cost, to save your child from themselves. I always knew how much I was loved and how special she thought I was.
She wasn't afraid to make me hate her, she didn't try to be my friend. She was a mother. And to be honest, I couldn't have asked for better.
Little did I know back then that my mom was such an amazing person, such a shining example. Who could have ever guessed that that same girl who always swore she would never do things like her mother did would be calling her mother so often for advice? I could have never imagined that she would be the first person I call with exciting news, funny stories, and thought provoking conversations. Or the person I turn to when my faith is weak and my world is crumbling.
She has never failed me. She has been there every single time I have needed her. She has loved me immensely despite my often bad attitude, my rebellious ways, and my many faults. She loves me because I am still, 34 years later, her miracle.
So here I sit, a whole lot like my mother. And I think....I'm really ok with that. :)

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