Why is it that women fear we will become like our mothers? I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is the struggle for identity as we are growing up that we try so hard to be different.
We look at things we missed in childhood and desperately try to make sure we give our children these same things we feel we lacked…yet we don’t realize the things we had.
I feel like I’ve taken a lifetime to grow up… Or perhaps it is better to say a lifetime to shed my cocoon. And in shedding it I’ve discovered my mother in me.
At first I was appalled and now I’m delighted. I always thought I looked like my dad. I did get his nose and larger frame but as I’ve aged I look in the mirror and at pictures and I see my mother. I have her eyes, both shape and color. Her best friend saw this photo of me helping Spencer drive our boat and commented, “I see Bethany there.”
Not only do I also see her, but I hear her too. Words come out of my mouth that I swore I’d never say. Thoughts go through my head that I remember her voicing when she was sixty. Its just plain weird. So on the brink of my sixtieth birthday I’ve decided to embrace it because my mom is a part of me, a very good part of me.
I’m grateful for her instilling in me diligent hard work. I’m grateful for her smile and ability to laugh, even at herself. My silly sense of humor comes from my mom. I’m grateful for her example of devotion to her family and friends when they were sick or hurting. She gave me that and people admire it in me. I learned it from my mom.
However, she also gave me her moaning gene. I think it came from her mom. I think one of my daughters got it. Every time I moan, I think, “Oh my goodness! I swore I would never do that like her!” My mother also taught me to be a strong woman, and I in turn raised strong daughters.
One of my favorite adult movies is Spanglish with Tea Leoni, Paz Vega and Cloris Leachman. The main reason I like it so much is the mother/daughter dynamics throughout it. They are so complex and it shows how these dynamics can be so confusing.
The movie ends with an adult daughter writing on her university application essay about a crisis moment with her mother when she was young. Her mother said she had to ask her a very difficult question even though the daughter was such a young age. The question was this – .
“Is what you want for yourself is to become someone very different than me?”
In hindsight, I realize that for most of my life I did want to be very different than my mother. We had a hard time connecting for a variety of reasons, one being my lack of understanding of who God created me uniquely to be.
At the end of the movie Spanglish, the daughter concludes on her university application essay that she hopes she is accepted but regardless of acceptance or rejection she knows this one thing- “My identity rests firmly and happily on one fact, I am my mother’s daughter.”
I get this now. I still miss my mother, I have days that I ache for her. Next month will be two years since she left this earth. I feel like I understand her better each day. She told me I would understand her when I’m older. She had made the same discovery with her own mother.
I’m thankful for the thought of a future opportunity to really get to know my mother better and to listen to her without any of these earthly struggles. I’m thinking that we will have a chance like never before to connect and understand each other.
All things will be made right, because that’s the promise of heaven.
And because I am my mother’s daughter.