Subtitle: Probably the reason I don’t have a daughter
My mother is turning 60 this week. Yes, 6-0! SIXTY! It’s strange because I can vividly remember when my parents turned 40 and now I’m 41. Sixty will likely be no different.
A good bit of reflecting has been happening here lately with this milestone birthday just days away. From my memory banks I was an easy child. I behaved, did well in school and many times was quite entertaining with tales of day to day happenings recounted with various voice inflections and animated gestures. Granted, I was also extremely mouthy, especially in the late teen years and early twenties, when I was sure my parents didn’t know what they were talking about.
Then I had my boys. Oh boy! It was a different story entirely then. I realized in fact how much my parents did know and more than that, how much they had silently endured. My parents were VERY young when they became parents. My mom gave birth to my older sister when she was 16. To their credit, they didn’t go down the dark path of abortion or the more common practice in the early 70s of adoption. They chose to be parents. And not any parents. Really wonderful parents, raising three very lucky daughters.
I can’t say I was grateful most of the time and generally turned much of my angst against my mother. There is just something about daughters that makes them extremely critical of their mothers; at least in my case. Akin to our fellow mom shaming or the constant mental battle that we aren’t doing “everything right”; some other mom has it all together while we’re zipping through the house, yelling “get your shoes on” for the fifth time, in an effort to make it to school on time. The microscope we turn on ourselves we also turn on dear old mom.
My parents divorced when I was almost 30 and it was brutally painful. I was glad the early follow on years to live where the Army willed and be able to deal with the hurt from afar. Now, living back in the midst of family, it’s different. The hurt is gone, but I feel the critical feelings creeping back. And these days when I start down my mental judgement highway, thinking my mom isn’t the Hallmark Grandma of my dreams, I take a long look in the mental mirror – I am also NOT the pinterest perfect mom. I remind myself she not only gave birth to me, she spent countless hours taking care of me, changing diapers, feeding, clothing, caring, making sure I was healthy and my needs were met. She suffered through my bratty early years, sassy teenage years and judgmental twenties. And there she is, still loving me. Through it all. One day my boys will likely be critical of me and I will be just like her. I will love them no matter what.
I love you mom!! Happy Sixty!!!