Herein lies a complicated relationship – mothers and daughters. As I look back on the relationships of my Mom and her Mom, me and my Mom and my daughter and myself – there is a common thread that repeats itself through the generations. The evolution of this relationship has MANY phases of development which can best be summarized by three phrases:
“I want to grow up to be just like Mommy!” Those big blue eyes study you putting on your make-up or stirring cake batter or playing the piano. To you, they are routine, mundane daily activities – but to her, they are like magic. You can see her little wheels turning as she studies and mimics your every move and asks a million questions. Wearing a party dress and ribbons in her hair while clomping around in your high-heels – she is a princess. Dancing and twirling on the stage in her recitals or singing a choir solo – she is an angel. Splashing water “fireworks” in the pool to a symphony of music – she is a mermaid. She is full of hopes and dreams and unconditional love.
“I will NEVER be like my Mom!!” Adolescent angst and tears sometimes stream from those big blue eyes these days. Hormones surge, rebellion bubbles to the surface and staunch independence replaces loving admiration. A battle of wits and wills can overshadow even the simplest of issues. Arguments and disagreements can be exhausting – thankfully, they are not the entire norm. We both look forward to the quiet times when we can capture a bit of the magic of days gone past – shopping for a prom dress, going to Disneyland, Christmas morning, reading Harry Potter together in bed… “School daze” fogs her mind and tempers clash, but somehow we survive it all. The hopes and dreams and unconditional love are, ultimately, our salvation.
“I never thought I would say this, but you were right all along” (A.K.A. I sound just like my Mom!) Those words are the ultimate high for any Mom to hear! There eventually comes a time when all of the personal investment, support and love kicks in and your daughter reaches the level of maturity that allows her to see the merit in your relationship. Once again, she asks for and appreciates your opinion and remembers all the advice and mentoring that you shared with her over the years. She shares insight and perspective with you as a woman who has come into her own. The doors open again to bonding, learning from each other and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. Watching her graduate, celebrating her job promotions and recognitions, planning her wedding and sharing a Spa Day all bring joy and love to our relationship. Your princess, your angel, your mermaid – all grown up. Her big blue eyes are, once again, full of hopes and dreams and unconditional love – just like mine.