My mom is tougher than she looks. Standing at less than 5’ in height, her demeanor is unassuming and mild. However, she is a force to be reckoned with. As a disciplinarian she always said what she meant, and meant what she said. I wouldn’t call her stoic, but as a child I have few memories of seeing her in tears. I remember watching her hold back and resenting it. Now I see that this was deliberate rather than a sign that she was cut off from her feelings. Having witnessed her own mother’s overt displays of emotion I think she wanted to project strength and security to me and my brother. Even in the midst of her treatment for breast cancer I only saw her break down once. When she becomes perturbed, look out! Her enunciation will suddenly become more pronounced than usual, a trait that I also possess when in the midst of a heated debate. I spent most of my adolescence looking for the differences between us. I didn’t want to look or sound or act like her. No matter how often I was spotted by an old friend of hers because the resemblance is unmistakable I plodded on in denial of our similarities. I spent so much energy trying to assert my independence but to no avail. I began my transition into acceptance when my son was born. I can see things from my mother’s perspective and I understand certain choices she made and values she struggled to impart. Now that I am in my 40’s I realize that there is no way to refute it. I am turning into my mother and that’s not so bad after all.
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