(30 Days of Truth – Day 30: Someone in your family that means so much to you)
Today is my mom’s birthday. Guess who I’m going to write about?
If you are a mother or daughter I’m sure you can appreciate what I’m about to say. I love my mom but, damn, it’s hard sometimes. I think since the beginning of time, mothers and daughters have had tumultuous relationships. If you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “mothers and daughters.” The first page of results is filled with links to websites that provide help to improve these relations. There is obviously a demand for this advice.
I suppose I’m fairly lucky in that my mom has never been one of those meddling, “What are you doing” kind of moms. During my teenage years, my mom rarely questioned my wardrobe, makeup or hair choice. She would laugh at me (often deservedly so), but she never questioned or outright criticized me. Now, friends and boyfriends was a different story but she always let me discover the truth on my own, even when she knew it was going to end badly. She was pretty good about letting me do what I was going to do anyway. As I grew up and got older, she might make comments like “You don’t want to do that” but she was never one to be judgmental. I hear stories of girls and their moms and when it comes to meddling, I think I’m pretty lucky to have had my mom.
People have always said that I was the spitting image of my mother. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached by strangers and asked, “You’re Patsy’s daughter, aren’t you?” I grew up in the same small town she did so we actually had some of the same teachers for high school. It made it very hard for me to get away with being bad because someone was sure to see me, recognize me and know right away which parents needed to be called.
When I was a teenager, my mom was considered pretty cool by most of my friends. If I was going to skip school, I always told my mom. If I was going to be someplace I shouldn’t have been, I always told my mom. She constantly stressed that I was less likely to get in trouble for things if I just told her what I was doing. There were even a couple of times I had teenage friends move in with us for months at the time because they themselves had difficult relationships with their own moms. My mom was always willing to take care of them and rarely complained or questioned what was going on. I think it’s safe to say that my mom and I were pretty close back then.
The 15 years after I moved out of my parents’ house saw my mother and I drift farther and farther apart. This is not the time or place to detail what exactly happened in our relationship but suffice it to say that we both made decisions and choices that greatly affected each of our lives, both as mother and daughter and as individuals.
In 2005, my mom came to Florida to live with me. A few months later, I moved in with Gil but still stayed with my mom at least one night a week. This got old, and expensive, really fast so Gil and I made the decision to move from our two-bedroom apartment into a larger house and we moved her in with us. At first, I couldn’t believe how willing Gil was to do this, but he was, and we agreed that no matter how difficult it may become, we would make it work. And you know what? It has. It has actually been a much easier situation than any of us ever expected.
Since my mom moved in with us, she and I have been able to reconnect. It’s not always peaches and cream but it’s really nice having her around. She never ever gets in our business or pries into our affairs. She’s always willing to help out by running errands or feeding the cats when we go one our many out of town excursions. She will sometimes prepare dinner or even watch the kids for us. In additional to rebuilding our relationship and getting to know each other again, she’s kind of handy to have around. But seriously, there have been times she’s been extremely helpful and ready to lend a hand to us on a moment’s notice.
Over the past few months I’ve watched as some of my friends have lost their moms. I realize I’m reaching that age when I’ll see and hear more and more of these stories. It’s times like this that I have to sit back and truly appreciate the fact that I have my mom here with me every day. It’s nice to be able to spend a day at the botanical gardens or browsing the local craft stores. We may not have long meaningful conversations on a daily basis but it’s a huge blessing that I have her so near, both physically and emotionally.