While I was growing up, my mom’s famous words after every disagreement we had were “just wait until you have a child of your own, you will understand.” It used to drive me insane! What my unborn child had to do with our arguments was beyond me. I remember thinking if I ever did have children, I would try my hardest not to be like my mom. In fact, I believe I told her once that if this is how parents are, I would never even want to have kids.
As a teenager, my mom was irrational and didn’t understand anything I was going through. As a young adult, her unsolicited advice was unwelcome and aggravating. Although I would say I was a decent kid growing up, I didn’t want to be told what to do. I wanted to make my own decisions and mistakes and I didn’t care how her life experiences would relate to mine. Flash-forward a few years and as a new mom, I am wishing I could go back in time and take it all back. As soon as I laid eyes on my son it all made sense and I find myself becoming more like my own mom every day.
My sister and I always joke around with my mom because she has saved nearly every piece of artwork and class project we have completed. Boxes full of construction paper crafts have made their way from Wisconsin to North Carolina to Arizona and back. I always thought she was crazy until daycare sent me home with my son’s first craft. It was a flower made out of his handprint and I cried because I loved it so much. It is currently hanging on my fridge but I have vowed to my husband that it will soon be framed and hung in our living room.
I can remember being embarrassed in public if my mom tried to dance or “be cool.” Now, I find myself dancing around my living room to the hot dog dance on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because it makes my son crack up. I make up songs for everything (including changing diapers) to keep him entertained and even though he’s too young to talk back, I hold full conversations with him in the grocery store (during these conversations I have noticed that I have adopted my mom’s vocabulary and mannerisms).
I never fully appreciated the fact that my parents made it a point to be at our class field days, swim meets, gymnastic events, dance routines, etc. Until now, I didn’t realize how much those things meant to my mom and I can already envision myself as the mom at every football game, baseball tournament and school event, starting the wave in the bleachers with overflowing pride for my son.
My relationship with my mom was most strained after I left for college. I am the youngest of two so my mom seemed to have a really hard time letting me go. I never wanted to come home and I didn’t fully understand how that would affect her until I became a mom myself. I am truly dreading the day my son leaves home and looking back now, I feel selfish and guilty for not appreciating my family more. My mom just wanted to be included in my life and my friends would tell my how lucky I was to have such a cool mom. I wish I would have listened to them more when I was younger and I hope that my own son will see me as his friend and confidant when he is older.
I made a trip home a few weeks ago and stayed up late with my mom and sister watching old VHS home movies from when we were kids. The amount of love and pride I could see in my mom’s eyes is something that took having my own child to understand. She was right when she told me it would all make sense when I became a mom myself. I spent too much time trying not to be like her and now I pray every day that I can at least be half the mom she was and still is. Although we have had our ups and downs, she has always been there for me and I am looking forward to our new journey as mom and grandma.