Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mothers and Daughters

I have been thinking about the complex relationship that exists between a mother and a daughter.
It is fraught with anguish and joy.

Not all mothers are stay at home, baking cookies and cleaning house women. Some are veterinarians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers and priests.

As are the daughters.

My mother was a stay at home mom. She cooked and cleaned but also worked in the garden, helped with the chores on the farm, did what needed to be done. She never had a chance to go beyond a 6th grade education, but as her youngest, I achieved a Masters Degree in Social Work. I hope she would be proud of that.

I love my mother fiercely and totally. Granted I was a "Daddy's Girl" but when I needed someone, I wanted my momma. Even now, in my mid 50's, there are times I want so much to be a little girl who can crawl into my mother's lap and have her rock me and hum until my tears dry.

My mother was brave. After my father died, she had to learn to write a check, find a job, live for herself as all the children where practically grown. Except for me.

I remember sitting up late at night watching TV with her. The Twilight Zone, Johnny Carson, falling asleep on a pallet on the living room floor while she slept on the couch reaching down to stroke my hair.

I have had the experience recently of witnessing a mother torn apart by the love for her daughters, who for whatever reason, have ceased to communicate with her. She has tried it on their terms, texting instead of calling, not dropping in unannounced. But still the relationship is difficult.

Other friends have cut their mothers out of their life due to mental health issues. Mothers who cannot let their children breathe freely; who demand and steal the attention from their daughters at every opportunity.

It is sad to see these relationships that are so damaged when I miss my mother so desperately. My mother and I had arguments, and felt growing pains when I was trying to figure out what type of woman I would become. But I loved her so much. And she, me.

I knew early on I wouldn't want children. I don't know the point of view of a mother whose children are becoming independent and fully formed, leaving the nest in search of their own life. I only know from my perspective. I only know that it is one of the most complex, rich relationships I have ever had. And I miss her to this day.