I’m not the best daughter.
The practice what you preach thing is very relevant and true, but difficult. I don’t always treat my mama like I should, but I know how I ought to, and she’s worth the fight.
I think you should call her. I think you should call her even if you’ve only got the five minutes it takes to walk across the parking lot. Sometimes I fear that I shouldn’t call someone because I don’t have an hour to spare. But I think I’m wrong. I think hearing each other’s voices is good, even if it doesn’t last as long as you want it to.
So call your mom.
This next thing occurred to me less than a month ago, and I’m sorry for that. I really wish it would have hit me in about 2006. You know that soothing presence your mother provides? The constant pity and empathy you get from her that you get from no one else? I don’t consider myself a whiner, but dear Lord my mother has heard it about everything. And you know what? If I ruined my shirt in the washer and I tell her about it, she feels sorry for me. If I had to wait in line for a long time in CVS, she feels sorry for me. If someone slammed on their brakes in front of me, she feels sorry for me. I don’t even know what to call it. She’s like a never-ending well of truthful and meaningful pity. No matter how small the hurt or frustration, no matter if I’m a real victim or just fussing, she actually cares and actually wishes me relieved of it.
So what of that? Give it back. It never occurred to me to give it back. Mothers need to whine sometimes, too. They get frustrated, too. And sometimes you need to tell them you’re sorry for it, sorry that they have to go through anything bad in this world. (That’s how she feels about you.) Return the terms of endearment on the other line when she’s had a rough day, return the sighs of understanding, the feeling of anger towards that person who didn’t use their blinker (I think that secretly we’re all bad drivers except I guess it’s not a secret since we already know that everyone else is a bad driver).
Get to know her. I mean actually consider her personality. She is not just “mom.” She is some kind of person with some kind of dreams and some kinds of tendencies (she was 25 once, too). She doesn’t have those attributes because she is “mom” but because she is her. She was before you. And now that you’re old enough to understand it, consider her as who she is and have dreams for her that are bigger than being a good mother or grandmother. She’s not only yours, you know! And this is a wonderful thing.
Pray for her.
Pray for her! Think about what she might need, and pray for her. Don’t neglect it a single day.
And forgive her. Not one of us is perfect. So not matter what: forgive her.
I guess I should speak to the mothers since I titled this that way: Thank you. Thank you for going through with the pregnancy, because by US law you didn’t have to. Thank you for all the sleep you missed. Thank you for all the meals you made, all the early mornings, all the late nights. Thanks for all the stress and worry that you carried on our behalf – fearing bad things so that we wouldn’t need to, praying for us before we knew how, picking up our slack when we were unaware. Thanks for being a safe place, for answering the hard questions.
Especially to my own mother: there is one thing that I can never repay you for and for which I am hands down most thankful: your time.