The Way I See Her Now (What Hindsight Taught Me About My Mom)

2 years ago

 On a certain day in May, I decided once and for all to stop rolling my eyes at my mother.

I attended a friend’s wedding. Every single detail of the day was gorgeous, colorful, and extraordinarily merry. So much so, that even in the fuzzy days following, I maintained a steady second-hand happiness high. At the wedding, I was accompanied by both my immediate family and lots of close friends, and – as always, it seems – spent much of the evening being told over and over how much I was like my Mom. Throughout the night, but particularly on the dance floor, loved ones huddled around us, all saying basically the same thing:

 

“Oh my gosh, Bridget! You are your mother’s daughter!”

 I smiled politely again and again, said thank you (and meant it), but as the night wound down, I noticed my mind still frozen in the sentiment - which had me simultaneously bewildered and pleasantly surprised. 

Because lots of things have occurred to me about my mother over the years…

That she practices the sort of kindness that softens people – the sort that I try to emulate but can’t seem to maintain – the kind that elevates typically stressful encounters to more personal, sensible ones. That she somehow mastered, early on, the fine and rarely-realized balance between wife and mother so that my brother and I felt important but never entitled. That she is still the most devoutly spiritual person I have ever met; she doesn’t lecture me on how to live, but she shows me all the time.

 Yes, lots of things have occurred to me about my mom. But being “my mother’s daughter,” which insinuates that I’m just like her?  Never.

I suppose that's because despite her exceptional accomplishments and admirable character traits, I spent too many of my 29 years focusing on everything she wasn't, instead of appreciating everything she is.  

I have always fiercely loved my mom, of course, but haven't always proved it in the way she deserved to feel it.

I used to think I shied away from being just like her because she  just plain bugged me. Now I think it was because, in my heart, I couldn’t quite appreciate her brand of pure goodness until I began to see how much I needed it in my life. I don’t regret one thing about our mostly-amazing-but-sometimes-a-little-shaky relationship. It is the realest thing I have ever known.

Sometimes, I assumed she didn't understand me. I realize now, it was often I who misunderstood her.

Sometimes, I resented the perpetual positivity she prescribed for my teenage angst. I realize now she was teaching me resilience. 

Sometimes, I allowed myself to be  cutely defined exclusively as a "Daddy’s Girl." I realize now, there was room for both of them in my fan club.

Worst of all, sometimes I so unfairly made her my preferred emotional punching bag. I realize now she was the only person I felt I could let down. 

Because, you see, I knew she would love me anyway. 

And she did.

People like to say that once you're a mother, you begin to appreciate your mother. I just didn't want to wait that long. So, let me say boldly and for the record: I am so proud to be my mother's daughter. We are, and always have been, the same in all the best ways.

Mom: 

For all the times I rolled my eyes, I’m sorry.

For all the times I forgot to say it: Thank you. I love you!

Happy, happy Mother’s Day. 

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 A lifetime spent listening (plus a solid 3 months at a "real" job in 2009!) paved the way for Bridget  Chambers' path as a Certified Life Coach, writer, and GenY entrepreneur. Her coaching  has been featured in Teen Vogue, Elephant Journal, Elite Daily and more. A native Chicagoan, she is passionate about work, weekends, and Kelly Ripa. ​{bridget@bridgetchambers.com}

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