I’ve always heard the phrase ‘You’ll understand when you have kids of your own”. While I’ve heard it so much, it became one of those sayings you just accept and brush off. It wasn’t until this last week that it really and truly hit me that I am my mother’s daughter. We were able to have a discussion about the things she did right in raising us, the things I disagreed with, and the fact it ultimately came to this one thing: She did the best she could with what she knew. That’s it!
As mothers, that’s what we do. There is no manual, no training guide. This is hands on training with the most challenging, and most rewarding job of your life. There are times I can think of that I regret making some choices to handle a situation with my kids one way, where in hindsight, I should’ve handled it another. At the time, it was the best I knew how to do.
One of the most important lessons my mother taught us is in saying I love you. Any time we were leaving, or getting off the phone, we were taught to say I love you. You never know if you’ll see that loved one again or not. She also taught us to say it throughout the day, and to make sure our kids always know that we love them. I can honestly say that it’s something I’ve said to my kids so many times, they already know when I’m going to say it.
I can say “do you know?”, and they’ll say “yeeeeeeesss, we know that you love us mommy. You tell us all the time.” While their responses tickle me, I remind them that there are children that never hear their parents say I love you, and they want for nothing more than to hear that they are loved.
Even with all of this, I still didn’t realize until last week how much I am my mother’s daughter. We handle situations differently, we see the world differently, and in many ways are very different, yet I understand my mother on a totally different level now.
I understand how difficult it can be to be in a place where every decision you make is important, and can leave imprints in the lives of your children. I understand how difficult it can be sometimes trying to parent through your own pain. I understand that some choices will leave those lasting imprints, and you may have to go back and apologize when the kids are older. I understand that there will be times when the kids don’t understand the situation, and you have to be truthful and honest with them about it when they’re older. They’ll respect you more for your transparency. I understand now. I understand my mother so much better now. I understand that I am my mother’s daughter, and that in itself, speaks volumes.