One of my dear friends over at Homemakers.com asked this question on the magazine's Facebook page this morning, and it really got me thinking. So I decided to dedicate a post to the most important lady in my life.
I've always likened myself to my mother in many ways. As a kid, it was the ultimate compliment when someone would tell her, "She looks just like you." It was enough for me to grin like the Cheshire cat.
Physically, I have her legs, her wide, deep set eyes, the same coloured hair, and her high cheekbones. But character-wise, I think different parts of my mother resonate through me depending on the circumstances.
For one thing, my mum is a tough cookie. A warrior in every sense. She's someone who didn't have it easy from the get-go. Born third into a family of seven children (five of them brothers), my mum has always had to work for everything she has obtained in life. Arguably, when you listen to her stories, and pay attention to all that surrounds her, you might think it's not a lot... but she's someone who isn't big on materialistic things.
On almost every milestone, she asks for three gifts: peace, basic security and simple happiness. And now, in her golden years, I'd say she has those things... although, sometimes, I'm not quite sure about the latter.
Life has definitely dealt mum a handful of rough blows, but she's battled each one with a sense of grace and dignity that I'd never be able to muster even if I was in a ballgown and stilettos. She has smiled through the joyful moments, and waltzed through the unbearable hurdles that mask themselves as surprises in life. I often wondered how she did it, but as I'm getting older, a lot of things about her are starting to make sense.
When I was a child, I wanted to protect her from all the bad in the world. As a teenager, I was revealed a set of truths that came as a blow, and I was in a constant state of confusion about family matters. I was angry one minute, happy the next, a bucket of nerves after that, and then angry all over again.
In my early 20s I began to find peace, and started to look at my mum in a new light. I'd seen all she had been through, and watched in awe as she continued to coast through life with the grace of a flower pushed around in the wind. A part of me envied her ability to let go of the past and move on. And I remember wondering if I'd ever get to that point.
Change can change you
Moving away from her and across the planet just after my 24th birthday was a huge shift in our relationship. Suddenly our spheres were separated, and we started becoming friends. For a year we talked on the phone twice a week, and e-mailed almost every day. We had things to tell each other that didn't circle around family matters and overdone issues. I started to see sides to my mother that I'd never experienced before. And I continued to grow in awe.
Coming home soon after turning 25 also marked a change. I'd grown a lot in the year away, and I started to view the world differently. Suddenly I found myself listening... for the most part anyway. There was a sense of clarity that wasn't there before, and a lot of the decisions that confused me in the past began to seem like the perfect choices.
Those days that my mother talked about when she'd say, "One day you'll understand..." are finally here. And now I find myself saying, "You're right..." a lot more. Not all the time, but definitely a lot more.
So to bring it back around to the question at the top of this post, I should say I see a lot of her traits in me... her strength, her resilience, her ability to move forward. And I'd be lucky if I make it to her age with half the grace and composure she has.
Then, there's the downside as well... her stubbornness and her ability to give people the benefit of the doubt when she should really tell them to go... suck on a lemon... or something.
I also inherited my mother's need for a cup of tea in the morning before anyone dares to have a conversation with her (or me). Rinse and repeat in the evening.
All in all, I'm learning that as time goes by, I truly am my mother's daughter. And I'm so much richer for it.
I hope you all take a moment this weekend to tell your mums, grandmas and other motherly figures in your life about how much they've impacted you. And then, make a promise to yourself to try and do this as often as you can moving forward.
Happy Mother's Day, Ma! Love you as much as you love that pasta with the spicy peppers right now. I know it will never compare... but you get the idea!
Cartoon image courtesy of Google Images