Do you ever have those moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself and do a double-take? Startled but calm…“OMG. I am my mother!”
It happens to me all the time…the way I look, the things I say. Recently I went shopping and caught a (disrobed) rear-view of myself in one of those wretched 3-way mirrors. The dreaded rear view, which I go to lengths to avoid (ignorance is bliss, right?). But there it was in all its glory staring me down in the middle of the dressing room. (Sorry, Mom. I adore you, but these hips are just genetic.) And last week, I scolded my 4 year old son for crossing his eyes and told him they were going to stick that way if he didn’t stop. Really? It was like the words passed directly from my mother’s lips to mine. I couldn’t believe I was actually saying them, but I must admit I was rather convincing. He quickly stopped. Or how about when you lick your thumb and smear it across your child’s face? Vintage “Mom Move”. I’m about to walk into school and my daughter has got remnants of breakfast loitering on her chin. No baby wipes in sight. Out comes the slick thumb and she instinctively hunkers into a cringe position. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
As much as we cherish our mothers and value the things they’ve passed on to us (except for those hips), the reality is that we’ve also mentally catalogued a list of flaws and mistakes they’ve made along the way. Not to be excused, but I think it’s simply the circle of life. We don’t respect or appreciate our mothers as much as they deserve when they’re in our lives – and inevitably our children will not respect or appreciate us as much as we deserve. We’re quick to remember the things our mothers did “wrong” throughout the years, often glossing over the things they did right – as if those things are to be expected and not appreciated. We make promises, “I’ll never do that!”… as if we really know any better. We allow ourselves to criticize. And if I’m being honest, I think the things I criticize most about my mother are in fact the things I dislike most about myself. It’s ironic, really.
The mother / daughter relationship – it’s wonderful and extraordinary, but inexplicably complicated. One of my favorite movies “Terms of Endearment” (if you somehow missed this movie in the 80’s, go rent it TODAY!) perfectly captures the complexity of this relationship — the unavoidable failures, disappointments, resentment, but ultimately a deep and abiding love that transcends it all. Your mother is the one who was there for you when you entered this world and will be there for you until one of you exits. It’s a powerful and humbling story.
I had the privilege to witness a very private moment last October between my mother and grandmother days before my wonderful, loving grandmother passed away. She was lying in the hospital bed, struggling for every ounce of energy to breathe and simply be with us. My mom took her hand and told her that we were going to be okay and that we loved her. It was an experience I will never forget as long as I live. I watched my mom as she summoned the strength to tell her mother goodbye. She told her that she was the best mother anyone could have, that she’d taught my mom to be a mother, and that in turn had allowed my mom to teach my sister and me to be mothers. Yes, the circle of life.
Along the amazing and terrifying path of motherhood, we will all make more than our fair share of mistakes. Some will be repeats of those our mothers made, while others will be uniquely our own. But in the end, I think we each try to do the best we can with we’ve got inside of us on any given day. And the truth is that most of us will be fortunate to walk in the steps of our mothers and carry their gifts forward to our children.
Smarties, don’t forget to log onto CSP & your facebook page at 3pm TODAY to see if you won the $2,240 worth of Mother’s Day Swag! Happy Mother’s Day, love CSP!