I talk a lot about my mom when I write. As the single largest influence in my life, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. She was my sun when I was a child, and has been my north star since. Not a direct influence on my day-to-day of life, but a constant; a guiding star when I feel lost and need to get back on track.
I have an awesome mom. Maybe lots of people think they have an awesome mom, but I really do. I didn’t always see her in the best light and probably blamed her for my shortcomings over the years; but they aren’t her fault. I’m now sure I’m imperfect in spite of her guidance…not because of it.
I’ve had the good fortune to observe and experience my mom in most of her roles: as a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a sister, an aunt, a grandma, a constituent, a neighbour and so many more. This experience has helped me to understand that I have different roles and that each role has its own set of innate expectations, triumphs and tragedies. Look for the triumphs.
I’ve always perceived my mom to be a master of her personal relationships, though she assures me she is not. It’s not that they are never rocky, she just seems to make things work out in the end. She continues to be friends with the same core group of women (despite their ups and downs) since I was 5. I think she understood that people come into our lives for a ‘reason, a season, a lifetime’, long before that was a chain-mail mantra. She is wise and her humanity is her best quality.
My mom is the first to tell me she’s proud of me just when I seem to need it most, but she’ll also tell me to “fuck off” if I deserve it. Yes, I got my potty mouth from my mom too.
I look like my mother, who looks like her mother. I see the generations in my mirror. That superficial sense of belonging that has been crucial to my personal development. In fact, I think it may have been the only thing that convinced me I was meant to be with this family!
I could say bad things about my mom too. For sure I could! But she’s human, she’s not perfect and to expect that she should be is, to use a favourite word: preposterous! The day I am a perfect daughter is the day I will expect a perfect mom.
I love my mom with all my heart. I don’t always ‘like’ her, and sometimes I hit decline when I see her number on my phone (sometimes that’s just my anxiety, too) ….but I love her unconditionally. Unrest is just normal family dynamics, I think. My kids will do these things too when they grow up and leave home.
My sister and I fight about whose mother she is this week; ‘do you know what YOUR mother did?’….but we also fight to be the known favourite, to mom’s delight and chagrin.
My mom is one of my heroes. (Don’t tell her that though, please, it will only swell her head!) She is a champion of the underdog and a fighter for justice. She is a lover of love. She sees the glass half full, always. She is smart, she is strong, she is honest and she is independent. She is kind and generous (well, until you get on her bad side, then just look out!). She makes being human look easy and being a mom even easier (it’s not easy at all!). She believes all people are created equal and it is only through your own actions that one can lower oneself – and that no one can elevate themselves above the rest of us – those we think are better just got better publicity! For a long time, she was the glue that held our family together. She is fallible, she has a temper, she doesn’t think she’s as great as we do. In short: she’s real.
I may not always ‘appreciate’ her, but I always love her, I always respect her wisdom and I always know she has my best interests at heart. If my children feel about me, half of what I feel about my mom, I’m doing better than I thought.