I never really appreciated my mom until I had kids of my own. I’ve never loved my mom as much as I do today. As young people say nowadays “I love her to the moon and back.” I never really showed her or told her until my late thirties. I always assumed she knew how I felt. Shame on me. I didn’t always feel the same about my mom. When I was younger, I didn’t want to be like her. I didn’t want to be my mother.
My mom stayed silent when people said things that hurt her feelings. As a teen, I told myself, “I’m not going to stay quiet when I don’t like what I hear. I’m not going to be like my mother.” When I became an adult, I took it to extreme. My insecurities and past hurt fueled the hate inside me. This hate turned to anger. I took everything personally. I believed everyone was out to hurt me in some way. When anyone said something I didn’t like, I was immediately up in their face. When they yelled, I yelled louder. I wasn’t backing from any fight. I wasn’t going to be my mother.
Then I got older… it was a lesson learned the hard way. I had been wrong and my mom had been right all along. With age came better understanding and a little bit more wisdom. I realized it took more strength to stay silent and walk away from a fight. It took more courage to be the bigger person. It was harder to walk away from a fight. I learned to pick my battles. Not everyone was out to get me. I was wrong about my mother. She is a wiser, stronger and better woman compared to me.
“When I grow up, I will spend more time with my children. I’m not going to be like my mother.” Growing up seeing my mom only a few days a week, I resented her. I wanted my mom to spend more time with me. She was always working. Looking back, I was selfish. I didn’t realize that it was harder for her to be away from me than me from her. She worked so much so she could give me the best that she can afford. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do or sacrifice for her children. Of course I didn’t realize this until I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. I wished I was able to spend more time with my kids. I didn’t, because I couldn’t. Life demanded I work in order to provide. Oh, the irony!
“I’m not going to be my like my mother.” I never understood why she nagged me about my friends. Why must she constantly tell me to be careful going out and to choose my friends wisely? I was old enough. I was a teenager. Of course I knew everything!
As I grew into womanhood, I understood. I realized not everyone can be trusted and some friends don’t always have the best intentions at heart. Since I’ve had children, I noticed that I am becoming more and more like my mother. I constantly tell them to be careful when they leave the house. They’ve heard my life lessons many times, maybe multiple times. I’m sure all they hear is blah, blah, blah… (accompanied by rolling their eyes at me) because that’s exactly what I heard (and did) at their age. In one ear, out the other. What’s happening here? Am I becoming like my mother? I am! And you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that.
Have I said I was wrong? I’m wrong for what I said in my younger years. I DO want to be like my mother. I’ll be lucky to be half the woman she is. When I look at her now, I see a different woman. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to see her… really see her.
It’s always easier to see someone’s flaws and short-comings instead of their endearing qualities. This is especially true for self-centered people. I used to be one of them. I used to see my mom as serious, always-at-work, and hard to please. Now, all I see is a gentle, caring, selfless, loving woman.
She’s the most generous person I know. When I ask her why she doesn’t demand the money people owed her, she always said “It’s better to be the one lending the money, than the one borrowing the money.” My mom was right. I wish I were more like my mother.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We lived together for five years after being apart for almost twenty. Of course we saw each other in between. During visits, in between duty stations, holidays, and special occasions. But it felt like we were separated physically and emotionally from each other. The five years we lived together were the best and happiest I had with her. She helped me raise my kids. We always had a warm meal and a clean house to come home to (thanks Mom!). I didn’t realize how much she did for us until we had to be far away again from each other. I miss her. I miss my mother.
What changed? She didn’t change. She’s always been the same. I changed. I finally grew up and started caring more about others instead of myself. The world stopped revolving around me.
We talk a lot more nowadays. Although we’re thousands of miles apart, I feel closer to her than ever. We laugh, we joke, we confide in each other. We share stories and feelings. We never did this when I was younger. Every now and then, she tells me more stories of her life.
I finally understood her. Now I know where she was coming from. Why she is the way she is. Why she did what she did. I am more in awe of this woman as I got to really know her. I know how strong she is. She’s been through rough times. I saw it, I was there. She’s one tough lady. To survive everything she’s been through and to survive the challenges I put her through. I’m lucky to have a mother like her.
To my Mother
I’m sorry for the times I resented you
I was young
I was wrong
I didn’t want to be like you
But I didn’t know
I didn’t understand
Now that I’m grown
And have children of my own
I SEE YOU
I appreciate you
I love you
I want to be JUST LIKE YOU