If you know my mom, then you know she is pretty much an extraordinary human being. I love her. Just that simple. I’m not going to use any flowery words or superlatives to try to explain how much she means to me because words pale in comparison to the reality, so it is best to just state it simply and bluntly.
As much as I love my mom, I waffle between wanting to be like her and wanting to be nothing like her. I suppose I really want to fall somewhere in between.
Now, before you get all up in arms and offended that I had the audacity to admit publicly that I might not want to be just like my mom, hear me out on why first. Then you can decide if I really am the world’s most horrible daughter.
Here are some things to know about my mom, in no particular order:
- She loves unconditionally. Everyone. I can’t think of one person she wishes ill upon. I can’t think of one person she has ever treated with any malice in her heart. She just loves everyone. She loves people who love her back. She loves people who don’t deserve love at all. She loves people who are mean to her, who are abusive to her, who use her, who have been purposely hurtful to her. She loves her family members because they are her family; they can do nothing to lose her love. Lots of people say they love others in their lives unconditionally; she is the only one I’ve ever met that actually does love people unconditionally.
- She is kind in her heart, in her soul, in her actions, and in her thoughts. She does everything out of kindness. Some people see this kind of kindness as weakness, but not her. She doesn’t see it as strength, either. It is just the way she is. It is just the way she exists.
- She is generous. This means with her love, her resources, her thoughts, her money, and her time. If you need it and you ask her for it, she will give it to you. Advice, a loan, a prayer, a cup of sugar, a hug — if she has it, it’s yours. If she doesn’t have it, just give her some time to get it and it’s yours.
- She is beautiful. She actually glows. If you know my mom, the next time you see her, really look at her. You will see it — she has a light that shines from within her. When she smiles, she beams.
- She is devoted. That devotion extends to her family, her friends, her God, her faith, her church, her pets, her ideals. I have never seen her devotion to anyone ever fail. Ever. And believe me when I tell you that my mom has been tested PLENTY in her life. Okay, one caveat: the only person she doesn’t seem completely devoted to is herself. She would rather take care of others than take care of herself. She doesn’t do enough for herself. She doesn’t think enough of herself.
So, here is this woman who has all these shining qualities, and I have the nerve to admit that I doubt I want to be like her? I assure you, I am not evil.
A picture of me and my mom from a cruise we took together a few years back.
My mother’s love, kindness, generosity, beauty and devotion are gifts in the lives of those of us who know her. And when those qualities come together in one human, they seem to invite scorn. And that scorn doesn’t come from people who don’t know her. It comes from people who have been given richly from her gifts. She gets ridiculed and taken advantage of and has her feelings flung to the side. And I admit, I have done these things to her, too, at times. I don;t know if I want to be like my mom because I just don’t think I have the strength the withstand a fraction of what she has and does withstand. Hell, even if I could withstand it, would I want to? Would I want the people I love the most in this world to trounce all over my heart? I doubt it. I feel so much better keeping people just a fraction of an inch away, giving me the space to push them back if they push me rather than doing as my mom does, keeping no space between those she loves so that when they try to push her she can easily wrap them in her arms and pull them in closer. When she does this, when I see people be rotten to her, I ask her why she puts up with it, why she puts herself through the pain. She never sees it as pain; she just sees it as an opportunity to show more love, kindness, generosity, beauty, and devotion. That is such a hard life. She says it’s not, but I’ve got to believe it is. I’m exhausted talking about it; she lives it.
So when I say I don’t always think I want to be like my mom, it’s only because I don’t think I could be what she is — so strong, so trusting, so fearless. I’d be scared to be like her — it’s so hard to be that way so effortlessly. BTW, she will read all this and say she it’s not easy, that she works at it and prays about it, but I know that it is easy for her because it’s not a choice for her. It’s just how she is. And I’m a good person, but I’m not good enough to be her.
Quick edit: as I am finishing this and adding pictures, I realize how few pictures I have of me with my mom. That’s gonna change!