I’m old enough to be a mom and blessed enough to still have my own mom close by.
Here’s how being a mom and having a mom works: My teens don’t listen to their mom (me) and I, in turn, don’t listen to my mom.
It’s not intentional. It’s a mom thing. It’s a kid thing.
The truth of it is: Moms do know best. They are brilliant. They have experience. And they know (and try to accept) that their children actually do hear them even if they are not listening in the moment.
Or maybe children are listening but trying to reply patiently – or impatiently – about why whatever it is that their mom is suggesting won’t work or is utterly ridiculous. Because, as kids know, clearly mothers just don’t get it. (No matter what "it" is.)
How many times have children said (preferably silently): “Duh, Mom”? And meant every single syllable?
Funny thing about mothering advice . . . most times it must simmer, be stirred and mulled, often for days, or weeks, and even occasionally for years. Most times, the child / young adult / grown child then realizes “Mom was right.”
This is almost always followed by a loud but silent “DAMMIT”.
In my more morbid moments, I panic over the thought of losing my mother.
Who will explain neutral shoes to me – yet again? Who will know how to get the stain out? Who will hang the picture, paint the wall, decorate? (Those abilities were passed down to my sisters, not to me. Thanks, Mom. Thanks a lot.) Who will convince me that I'm sick and should stay home; or that I'm not dying but should get to a doctor (with an implied "just in case")?
There are so many “hows” and “whys” that only she knows. The internet doesn’t exist for most ‘mom questions’ and it definitely doesn’t exist for mom support. And even if it did, I wouldn’t want it to anyway. There is no way I can call the internet in the middle of the day and start crying about the most critical (or inane) thing that has just overwhelmed me. One thing is for sure: the internet is no substitute for a mom. Not my mom. Not any mom.
My mom loves me unconditionally – as witnessed by all the advice she continues to give me knowing it will take me a long time – not just to understand it and agree with her – but also a long (much longer) time to appreciate her wisdom and then to thank her. (Sometimes, I wonder whether she lives for that long-delayed gratification. I know I do with my girls.)
And in my even more morbid moments, I ponder over my girls losing me.
Who will see them through the good, the bad, and the occasionally ugly? Who will they go to for advice that they won’t listen to but realize later how spot on it is? Will their other mamas (my closest friends) still be here to guide them? Will they learn to trust their own inner wisdom by then? Will they lean on each other as sisters and pseudo mothers? Because – and they don’t know this yet – they have each mothered the other throughout these years with such love and kindness. How else could we have survived in this family if we haven't all been mothering one another?
But, now is decidedly not a morbid moment. Now, I am grateful for my mom.
And for my daughters who taught me how to better appreciate their grandmama. I learned this by realizing that they were not listening to me just as I understood I was doing the same with my mom. Good grief! I chuckle now with this revelation.
So, I mentioned this to my mother. She chuckled. She already knew. Wise mother that she is.
( I knew you wouldn't approve of any of the many, but way too few pictures we have of you, Mom.
This then made me realize that I've inherited that self-critical photo gene which I've passed down to my daughters.
Thus, this is the best non-picture of not-us I could find.)
Tulips for you, Mom... your favorite. And the cat won't eat these. Plus your granddaugther took this picture in Copenhagen last month...