As a kid, I was always pretty independent. My mom worked a lot, she was a single mom so my sister was left in charge of me. My sister is almost 5 years older than me and the last thing she wanted to do was babysit her little bratty sister. So, I was home a lot by myself and growing up in what I thought was the best place in the world- our trailer park. There were so many kids my age and we had 2 big playgrounds. Now that I look back, I’m pretty sure they were just open areas with a swing set and probably not that big. But regardless, it was awesome! So I didn’t mind being at home without much supervision.
I always felt my sister, Tammy, was closer to our mom. Our parents divorced when I was 3 and our dad never really maintained any relationship with us after that. So I was what they’d call now as a “latchkey” kid. I never felt like I developed that mother/daughter closeness with my mom. Being independent and making a lot of bad decisions as a young adult, I never really went to her for advice…I think because I was ashamed? Or maybe didn’t want to feel vulnerable? I don’t know. But don’t we all say “when I grow up, I’m not going to be like my mom!”? I did. I thought she could’ve done a much better job raising me, attending my sporting events and being more present.
I’m 46 now. My sons are 26 & 23. By the time I was their ages, I was married, had 2 little boys & on my way to my first divorce. Life was so much harder for me than it was for my mom, right? I was young, divorced and a single mom. Oh shit. Wait. So was she. But I managed it all in a better way, right?
REVELATION: why did it take me 46 years to appreciate my mom? My first realization that I was my mom was so small. It was about a year ago, I had stopped by her house to visit and before I left, she put food in containers to make sure I ate. Even though I said several times “you don’t have to do that.”, she did it anyway. When the father of my kids passed away tragically, she was the first person I needed at my house- she was there instantly. When we moved into our new house, she did all of our laundry and helped me deep clean the entire house. A few weeks ago she was leaving and I told her to be careful and she said “I will honey.” THAT was the exact moment I knew I was like her. I say “honey” to my boys all of the time. I send food home in containers for my oldest son, put a plate in the microwave for later for my youngest, help with their laundry, dote on them (even when they don’t want it), and always drop whatever it is to be there for them.
I feel as though I’ve always been a really good mom. The sacrifices are second to none for mothers. But we do it. We put our heads down, get through it and all we care about at the end of the day is that everyone is fed and ok. No matter how we all got there. It’s exactly what my mom did for my sister and I. She was teaching me how to be a good mom but I couldn’t see it until I went through it. Is that how my boys will feel? Will they be 40 and realize how awesome I’ve been all along?! *fingers crossed*
Is this the circle of life for all of us? I’m at the age where you start to discover who you are, what you’re not and what really matters. I look at my mom and I see where I get my strength, my love of writing, my sense of humor and ability to tough it out. I don’t think I can make up for the 45 years I didn’t appreciate her, I think what I can do now is tell her how much I appreciate her and what an impact she had on who I became. I could not have survived this far in my life without learning from her. She’s a strong woman, not to be pushed around. I’m pretty sure she gets that from her mom, my grandma. I’m proud to say I come from a family of strong women. I’m proud to say: I’m like my mom.
Text your mom and tell her how awesome she is and thank her for dealing with your nonsense! 🙂