My daughter, Evelyn, has entered the “Why?” stage.
Me- “Evelyn, will you please pick up your roller skates and put them in the closet?”
“Well we don’t want Daddy to slip on them and fall.”
“We love Daddy and don’t want him to get hurt.”
“Because I said so, that is why.”
In those seven little words, I realized something I feared would come true but thought I could avoid. No matter how much I thought I could dodge that proverbial bullet, I realized I am becoming my mother.
It isn’t just ending a conversation with the understanding that because I am saying so that is the end of it. I find myself having the same voice inflections when talking to Evelyn. I catch myself saying things that, even as they are escaping my mouth, I turn around to make sure that my mother isn’t standing over my shoulder speaking for me. There are times I even look in the mirror as I’m brushing my teeth and, despite the fact that I don’t think we look a lot alike, in a split moment I see my mother staring back at me.
Growing up, my mother and I were close. I can vividly remember idolizing her, knowing she was the most infallible woman on the planet. I remember seeking her approval, dancing for her just as my daughter does today, waiting for her joyous round of applause.
In what seems like to me (and probably to her) an overnight phenomenon, I became the typical teenage girl who wanted nothing to do with her mother. Mix in hormone levels that will rival a women’s going through menopause, sibling jealousy and poor choice in boyfriends and I thought my mother’s sole purpose was to make my life hell. My teen years were rough on me, but I consider her the lucky one to have made it through them alive. When I left for college, I know that along with sadness of her first baby growing up and leaving the nest, she felt a huge sense of relief of knowing that not only did we survive, but somehow we were still on speaking terms.
Growing up, I can remember her telling me, “Right now I am your mother, not your friend. When you are an adult we will be friends, but not until then.” Back then, I wasn’t entirelysure I would ever want to be friends with my mom, but now I will tell you with certainty that she is one of my best friends.
Back to my realization that I am becoming my mother. As much as my 16-year-old self would be angry, I realize that this is exactly how I want to be. Sure, she made a few parenting choices that I didn’t agree with and maybe I won’t do the same thing with my own children, but she did the best that she could with what she knew.
I appreciate my strong intuition that she taught me to always listen to. I love that I learned how to let my child be independent because that is how my mother raised me. I am forever grateful that no matter what issues I was going through, I knew that I always had my mother’s love and support, even when she didn’t like me much.
Honestly, parenting is more exhausting than I think any person can ever fathom. But mothering, well to me, has come pretty naturally and I give all of the credit to my mom because she was such a solid example. So, when I think of becoming my mother, the only way I can express my feelings is to say that I am extremely proud to be just like her.
Image Source:// All Author’s Own