I’m OK with Being my Mom

Joyce - Plant City, Florida
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, legacy

After much soul searching and crumpled papers, which testify to my inability to clearly state at least one thing I really believe, I did found what I truly believe in and know to be true; the immeasurable influence of a mother.

I moved away from my childhood home when I went to college, and I never lived there again. My adult life has been spent two thousand miles away, and for 30 years I only saw my mother twice a year. Yet the 17 years I spent with her were more powerful and influenced me more than my experiences the other 30 years. This is what amazes me. I understand why I look like her. I catch a glimpse of her in all the mirrors and store windows every day. But how is it that I have her mannerisms, views on the world, and manner of speaking too?

This year, we spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my siblings at my childhood home, which is now the home of my older brother. I have four brothers, two sons, and two grandsons. When speaking about one of them, I did the exact same thing my mother used to do, and that all mothers are known to do and that is to go through a litany of all names, as though we cannot pull one name by itself up in our brains. With fours sons, this litany was a daily occurrence for my mom. And not just that, I talk with my hands like my mom, I crease my forehead when I’m deep in thought, I purse my lips the same way when I read – things that should not be hereditary but yet seem to be.

I have developed an outlook on life similar to my mother’s, too. I’ve changed from a young ‘I can save the world, give peace a chance’ chanting idealistic liberal, to a sometimes pessimistic, moderately fatalistic ‘I don’t know anything anymore’ conservative, which makes me very much like my mom. I do remember my youthful optimism; I just find it harder to believe it all the time in this frightening world. My mother talked about how World War II changed her outlook on her world, and how it changed her perception of her personal power to change things as well.

It’s not that I mind how her influence impacted me; there is no one I’d rather be like than my mom. I don’t understand why I’m exactly like her, but I believe in the power of her influence. She was the single most important person in my life, and I’m proud of who she was, and how she lived her life, which was to always do what was best, at that given point in time. I’d like to think I try to do that too.

I believe that my mother’s influence transcended 30 years and two thousand miles to influence me in so many ways, and therefore I thank her for the positive traits; my work ethic, empathy for others, love for my country, love for reading and music, and dedication to my family. I forgive her for the ones that aren’t so positive. Knowing all this, I try to be careful how I influence my sons. They don’t have a two thousand mile buffer.

I believe no influence is as great as a mother’s, as is no love greater. I believe I will always miss my mother in an indescribable way, every single day, for the rest of my life.