I never had the privilege of experiencing the full effect of the mother/daughter dynamic as a girl…
Before I got a chance to enter puberty and encounter those turbulent years (where I would heave sighs, slam doors and wage wars over what to wear) my mother had died.
I was nine when she passed and was only left with memories that would eventually fade over time. But even after all of these years there are still a few memories that cling to me.
I can still smell the oranges we ate every afternoon while we watched Little House on the Prairie. I remember sitting by the window watching a thunderstorm roll in and being taught to be exhilarated by it instead of scared of it. And I remember the way her body molded to mine and the warmth I felt when she held me.
All of her flaws forgotten.
Now as I enter the years of raising a teenage daughter I’m encountering uncharted territory. I don’t have my own experiences to look back on in terms of dealing with the struggles mothers and daughters encounter once they enter these years. I’m left questioning myself and wondering if I’m good enough.
What does she see when she looks at me?
What will she remember when she looks back on these years?
It was Saturday and motherhood had worn me down this previous week. Brent had been in Breckenridge all but two days during the week. I had worked long hours and still had more school work to complete before the night’s end. All week long I had looked forward to coming home to spend quality time with my girls, to catch up on all that I had missed. Instead of being greeted with smiles and hugs I was greeted with temper tantrums, tears and arguments.
I was drained and exhausted and pushed to the brink. I was ashamed, because in the midst of all of the chaos I had a few temper tantrums myself and the guilt of it all was weighing me down.
I felt guilty for losing my patience. I felt guilty for being so busy during the week. I felt guilty for wanting to lock myself in the bathroom where I could take a long bath, drink a bottle of wine and read a book in an attempt to pretend like I didn’t have kids or responsibilities.
That night as I tucked Penelope, the little one, into bed I started to close the door when I heard a sweet little voice say, “Night night Momma. Love you.”
It was the sweetest thing I had heard all week, I wanted to live in that moment forever.
I closed the door behind me and walked past Bridget’s room where she was engrossed in a conversation on the phone with a friend. She looked so grown up and it made me miss the years that I had with her when she was little too, the times when she actually liked me.
I made my way through the kitchen where a stack of Bridget’s school work from the week sat. I was sorting through it when a paper she had written caught my attention… It was about her role model.
“When most people say their mom is the best role model, they are probably wanting something like an xbox or the latest cell phone. But not me! My mother, Nina Nevada Gwyn Chapman, is the best person to look up to. Although we’re exactly alike-in looks and brains- I sometimes feel the need to be like her even more. Want to know why I think my Mommy qualifies for Best-Mother-of-The-Year? Stick around and you’ll see!
One of the reasons I believe my mom is a good role model is because she is energetic and understanding. My mom has the kind of temper that makes her blunt. Also, she will not let other people step on her, which is one of the best traits she has. My mom doesn’t give in to gossip, and she’s never rude unless you do something to someone she loves. That’s when Momma Bear comes out! Mom is also the funniest person alive, partly because she doesn’t care what other people think. She tells jokes and things to me and my friends that other mom’s usually don’t say. But apart from her spunky side, she is really down-to-earth and very helpful in listening to other people’s problems. I would like to be as understanding as she is. My mother can be very un-predictable in her motives, but it is something I hope to achieve.
Another reason my mom is a good role model is because she loves anybody no matter what. She always makes me smile, as I would like to other people. My mother is always willing to give 2nd and 3rd chances. She believes that no matter what mistakes you make, there is always a seed of hope inside, a light of forgiveness. If others understood this, I think the world would be more peaceful.
Overall, I believe my mom is a great role model for the reasons listed above. She is kind, forgiving, and always makes people feel better, like everyone should. Even though someone has done something wrong, my mom forgives them, and that can make a person feel better. If everyone was like my wonderful mother, perhaps we would live in a better place.”
She walked into the kitchen while I was reading it, my eyes were rimmed with tears threatening to spill over. She looked at me and said, “Momma don’t cry.” She hugged me tight snuggling her head under my chin.
After a while she took in a deep breath and said, “Ahhh, you smell good.”
I was tired and ragged and in need of a shower so this was news to me, “What do I smell like?”
“I don’t know… like mom,” she said as she hugged me tighter.
All of my flaws forgotten.