It Occurred to Me About My Mom

{This post also featured on BlogHer.}

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Days like last Saturday make life perfectly lucid. I attended a dear friend’s wedding, and every single detail of the day was gorgeous, colorful, and extraordinarily merry.  So much so, that even in the fuzzy days following, I have maintained a steady second-hand happiness high.  I was fortunate enough to be accompanied at the wedding by both my immediate family and lots of close friends, and as always, spent much of the evening being told over and over how much I was like my Mom. Throughout the night, but particularly on the dance floor, loved ones huddled around us, all saying basically the same thing:

“Oh my gosh, Bridget! You are your mother’s daughter!”

I smiled politely again and again, said thank you (and meant it), but as the night wound down, I noticed that my mind was frozen in the sentiment, which had me simultaneously bewildered and pleasantly surprised.

Because lots of things have occurred to me about my mother over the years…

That she practices the sort of kindness that softens people – the sort that I try to emulate but can’t seem to maintain, that elevates stressful encounters to a more personal, human-to-human level. That she is arguably the best nurse in her entire hospital, because she has the capacity to treat every patient with the same care that she would provide to her own family. That she is the most devoutly spiritual person I have ever met; she doesn’t ever tell me how to live, but she shows me all the time.

Yes, lots of things have occurred to me about my mom. But being “my mother’s daughter,” which insinuates that I’m just like her? Never.

I suppose that’s because of the fact that, despite her exceptional accomplishments and incomparable character traits, I have spent too many of my 28 years focusing on everything she wasn’t, instead of appreciating everything she is.

I have always fiercely loved my mom, of course, but haven’t always showed it in the way she deserved to see it.

I used to think I shied away from being just like her because she really bugged me. Now I think it was because, in my heart, I couldn’t quite appreciate her brand of pure goodness until I began to see how much I needed it in my life. I don’t regret one thing about our mostly-amazing-but-sometimes-a-little-shaky relationship. It is the realest thing I have ever known.

Sometimes, I assumed she didn’t understand me. I realize now, it was often I who misunderstood her.

Sometimes, I resented the perpetual positivity she prescribed for my teenage angst. I realize now she was teaching me resilience.

Sometimes, I allowed myself to be defined exclusively as a Daddy’s Girl. I realize now, there was room for both of them in my fan club.

Worst of all, sometimes I so unfairly made her my preferred emotional punching bag. I realize now she was the only person I felt I could let down.

Because, you see, I knew she would love me anyway.

And she did.

People like to say that once you’re a mother, you begin to appreciate your mother. I just didn’t want to wait that long. So, let me say boldly and for the record: I am so proud to be my mother’s daughter. We are, and always have been, the same in all the best ways.

Mom:

For all the times I rolled my eyes, I’m sorry.

For all the times I forgot to say it: I love you. So very, very much.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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4 thoughts on “It Occurred to Me About My Mom

  1. How lucky and blessed I am to have such a beautiful, talented and thoughtful daughter.? When I read this, I had to excuse myself to the privacy of a closet and have one of those wailing, ugly cries. Bridget, you touched my heart so deeply. I love and I am soooooo proud of who you are. Mom

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