Daughter Not Like Mother
Can I break the genetic script of the Italian woman from which I was born? No matter how much I hope for a better relationship with my daughter, I wonder if that can happen after my mother’s example has already been so firmly established.
My mother was born into a firm-fisted, Catholic, Italian family. My great grandma Nana treated my grandmother with a strict, rigid, unsentimental love. This was the old country’s approach to parenting. It has now been passed down to me. It is genetic, cultural and behavioral.
In a young teen woman’s life, the relationship and bond between mother and daughter is most important. Every young woman needs their mom no matter how tempted we are to think we “hate” her.
From the time a daughter enters the world, to the time her mother leaves it, that understanding, that bond, is there. It is said that upon entering the world from the womb, the baby knows instantly the smell of their mother: the baby is placed upon the mother’s bosom, forming that everlasting bond.
I envy young women my age who have strong relationships with their mothers; where they don’t feel every time they talk it’s at an arm’s length. I wait for the day when my mother and I can have a long conversation about “girl stuff” without an ounce of unease. I dream of the day that my mother and I can get dressed up and go out without arguing about which parking spot to pick.
I love how my mother raised me up to be a strong-hearted, independent, Italian woman. I hope I will be able to look back and have more warm memories of what was between—rather than what could have been.
The relationship I have wanted with my mother has so far eluded me. I am only fourteen. What I hope for every girl and their mother may never be my experience. I wonder, sometimes, how this has affected me. How it will affect me later as woman, mother—maybe even wife.
My father, who is a psychologist, tells me that sometimes adult children heal from their own childhood by parenting their children the way they wished they could have been parented.
He also says that sometimes the same wounding just continues through “genetic re-enactment.”
I am determined to be a different mother. I am determined to talk with my attorney-mother and argue the case that we can now both try to change the script.