The mother-daughter relationship can be one of the most emotionally charged ones around. While it can be a tremendously fulfilling relationship, it can also be an explosive powder-keg of wills. Varying with age, the relationship can be positive or prickly, close or distant, and a myriad of things in between. Over the years, though mostly indubitable, I can honestly say that my relationship with my mother has run (and continues to run) the gamut. Despite the fact that I am forty years old, the relationship between us is still evolving, sometimes at warp speed.
I have idolized my mother. I have also considered her, at times, to be the most ignorant, overbearing human being on the planet (what daughter hasn’t thought that of their mother at one time or another – particularly during the teenage years?). On more than one occasion, I have been under the impression that my mother has a hard time accepting me as a grown woman. There are times where I feel like she is proud of me, and times when I feel like she thinks I am an incapable buffoon (these moments usually revolve around the decisions I make about how to rear my own children). She can be bossy and opinionated, but she is equally loving and generous; both with her time and her possessions. There is no doubt I am lucky to have her in my life. Without question, she has “come through” for me in more ways than I am able to count.
Being that we have a close relationship, my mom can have a sort of sixth sense about things. Now, this isn’t to say that her instincts are unique or original – I think the overwhelming majority of mothers have a sixth sense when it comes to their children. But, it’s often nice to know you have someone else in your corner looking out for you. Part of it can be attributed to the fact that we spend so much time together, and part is simply her undeniable astuteness. There are things she just knows — it’s freaky, in a primal, unconditional love kind of way.
She has known when boyfriends have been all wrong. And, also made like Goldilocks to know when they were “just right.” (She knew I was going to marry my husband long before I did.)
She knew I was unhappy at work well in advance of me admitting it to myself.
Even if I am donning a happy face, she can tell when something is eating me inside.
But, there is more…
It is eerie how she can pick up on human transgressions and setbacks, often before they actually present themselves. She could tell when my father (an alcoholic) was going to go on a bender, well before it started. She has known, despite a 3,000 mile buffer, if my sister has gone back to ill-suited ex-boyfriends.
She also picks up on subtleties. Like earlier this year when she went to the nursery without being asked, bought all of the flowers for our planters, and planted all of our flower pots while we were away on vacation. Our yard is always impeccably landscaped; fresh flowers in spring and summer, grasses and hay bales in the fall, and greens and berries in the winter. It is a source of tremendous pride and enjoyment for me – but this year, the pots were noticeably empty. We never said anything to anyone, but we made a conscious financial decision to forgo the flowers and mulch in order to pay for car repairs and other unexpected (and not so enjoyable) expenses. As “responsible” as that decision was, it pained me every day to walk by those empty pots. Somehow, where something like this would go unnoticed by almost anyone else, my mother just knew and did something to rectify it without saying anything or expecting anything in return. A huge gesture that meant a lot, and has provided us with immense beauty and color ever since.
She is also making strides in knowing when her opinion is not warranted (or wanted), and intuiting (and respecting) when I just need some time alone.
I am grateful for this highly complex, extremely tenderhearted, overly generous presence in my life. Now, if we could just get her to figure out what the winning lottery number is going to be. 🙂
How has your mother impacted your life? If you are a woman, how do you think you will impact the lives of your own children? What will you intuit where your offspring is concerned? I would love to hear from you and get your perspective, so drop me a line or leave a comment on the blog.