How are you like your mother? And if you're a mother, how is/are your kid(s) like you?
As I thought about how to frame this post and reflected on the ways in which I am like my mother, I found myself thinking about her mantras, about memorable parenting moments, and about things I may not have understood at the time, but seem to make an awful lot of sense now.
I was thinking about the time, in like 7th or 8th grade, that I came home from basketball camp. I must have been a little full of myself after a week in the big city, staying on a college campus, learning the fundamentals of basketball from pre-colossal-academic-cheating-scandal Clem Haskins. I'd been home a couple days and Mom was driving me a few miles down the road to drop me off at my summer job at the strawberry patch. With about 3 minutes left in the trip, Mom launched into a big, sternly-worded speech. She told me that she was done with my attitude, done with my laziness and ready for me to start acting like myself again. She said that when they came to pick me up at the end of the day, I'd better be "the sweet Emmy she knew and loved." She timed it perfectly. The speech ended right as we pulled up to the stand where I was about the spend the day sorting and weighing berries. She turned to me with a big smile and said, "Have a great day!" I remember staring at her incredulously and getting out of the car, mad as could be.
I also remember going home that day, a much more respectable version of my young self.
"Snap out of it," has always been a mantra of Mom's. Sometimes we received that message quite directly, while other times it was couched in gentler terms. But the moral of the story was always the same. There is a time to get over things...a time to get back to normal. Because as comforting and therapeutic as it may feel to wallow around in our own crankiness (or whatever), there comes a time to move on. As Dad says, "Your mother has always been great at helping you kids with your problems...and then telling you when you were over them."
When I was younger, I suppose I thought I needed more time to emote. More time to feel my deep-seated feelings. As an adult, I recognize that there are very few things in life that necessitate sustained, decadent wallowing...but the things that do require it, well, you're gonna be glad that those kinds of things are few and far between...and you're gonna be glad that you saved your energy.
Snap out of it.
None of this is to suggest that Mom isn't supportive or empathic or on our side or any of these kinds of things. I call the woman 12.7 times a day. She always cares. She always listens. She always knows just what I need...just what to say...just how to help. She has absolutely always been the perfect mother...the best mom ever...the mom I hope I am, when Jay and I have kids. She is my mom...The Mom.
"Snap out of it" has made me reflective. It has given me perspective. It has continuously challenged me to uphold my goals of optimism. "Snap out of it" has made me stronger. It has made me less nervous...and more no-nonsense. In all of those ways, whether she meant to or not, Mom has imbued the best parts of herself in me. The parts that make her, in my eyes, such an imitable woman, are the things that I realize I try hardest to be...every single day.
|The very best mom...my mom. The Mom.|