A new school year begins this week. We watch our children start a new phase of their education. While some just begin their journey, others look forward to the culmination of young adulthood. It’s a beautiful, yet nostalgic time because we have to slowly let go of our little ones. Raising them is challenging but letting go is probably even harder.
The mother of a teenager who will be heading off to college in a few years. I often look back at the days when she looked at me as if I was her world. I’m blessed and thankful every day that the gleam in her eyes is still there when she kisses me good night. It’s
to ponder a night in my future when she will be off at college somewhere. The good nights will come from the other end of a phone. I think back, wondering if my mother struggled with similar emotions when I was the same age.
Life is fleeting, I see my life today and definitely see so much of my mother in me.
The other day, I asked my daughter for help with a chore. She wanted to do other things but duty called to which she kindly obliged. I approached the moment with humor by saying, “You know, one day you will miss me telling you what to do.” We both laughed looking at each other knowing that growing up means change.
My mother has a million tales to tell about me. I often do the same when surrounded by strangers who don’t know how wonderful my daughter is inside and out. As I get older, I begin to understand how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I enjoy preparing my daughter’s favorite meals. Listening to her express her love for my cooking while she waits. I’m thrilled to see the expression on her face! As a young girl, the smell of my mother’s cooking filled each room in our home. We knew mom’s dish would be delicious. She always cooked with love. In a Dominican household love is the main ingredient in all our dishes.
My mother was especially tough on me when it came to education. I was an A student but she always made sure I did the work. It was never enough just to do well. She expected nothing less than my best. I wanted to make her proud at any cost. My daughter is an honors student. Each year, I attend Parent-Teacher Conference. My eyes fill with tears. Her teachers will say “your daughter has a tremendous work ethic, pride and respect for the work she delivers.” I’m going to guess my mother felt an immense gratitude and joy when she heard great things about me from my teachers. I’m certain of the way I feel myself.
There were a few times during my youth, I said “I will never become my mother!” as many of us out there. I can honestly say, there are aspects of my life where I’ve taken on pieces of this special woman who I call “Mom.” Hopefully, I make her proud of the woman I am today. There are other areas of life where I know better, therefore, can do better. Decisions during those moments have been difficult but necessary.
For better or worse we are a product of our parents. This doesn’t mean that we have to duplicate their achievements or mistakes. If we can take the best of what our mothers have to offer, building our own identity while keeping their essence alive within us. Isn’t that the best way to honor and show love for them?
In conclusion, I don’t feel that I have become my mother, per se. I’ve nurtured the best of her qualities combining them with my own. The result has been the same, becoming a strong, kindhearted and empowered Latina woman like she is. I can only hope that my daughter does the same.
Have you become your mother?
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