One of my favorite things about growing older is discovering how much of myself is made up of my parents. As much as I’d like to think I alone have molded myself into the person I am today, it’s simply false. My mother and father have been there the whole time, their hands on top of mine, shaping and creating alongside me.
And of course, many others have been there too: friends and family and artists and storytellers and teachers and coworkers and, and, and. They smoothed out my edges, helped put the finishing touches on. But at the core, really, it was my mother, my father, and me.
In the spirits of Mother’s Day, I’d love to share with you the little self-discoveries I’ve made in my adult life. Or, as I should really call it, my mom-discoveries. (…That may take a while to catch on.)
- My non-negotiable when looking for a new place with my fiancé was there had to have an outside area. I could handle one bathroom, or small kitchen, or older appliances. But no patio or deck? Nah fam, we’re out. WHY? Because in my childhood home, from April to October every year, my mother always ate out on our deck. She read and napped out there, too. When I was young (and dumb), I’d laugh at her. But then I moved away and realized WOW I REALLY MISS OUR DECK.
- My mother would come home from a long day of teaching elementary school kids and immediately change into her pajamas and bathrobe. Her “Urkel Wear” as she liked to call it, because her pajama pants were pulled up like Steve Urkel. Again, I’d laugh, until one day I looked in the mirror at 5:30 after work and realized I had pajamas pulled up to my chest and my fluffy bathrobe on. (Fun fact: my sister has also adapted to this home uniform.)
- When my friend Grace casually asked me one October afternoon what ring I’d want if I were to ever get married, I immediately knew my answer. (I also had no idea that she had been put up to this by my then-boyfriend/now-fiancé). I told her gold band was my style, with one diamond. Nothing flashy, just simple and sweet. I had never really thought about it before, so I couldn’t figure out where this answer came from… until after I got engaged and looked at my mom’s hand, realizing my engagement ring was almost identical to her own. Oh. Yeah. Of course.
- I was fortunate enough to spend over a week with my parents this past Christmas. We ate (a lot), we went sledding (once), we walked at 1 am on Christmas morning while it snowed and pretended we were in a snow globe. We also watched a movie every night. My fiancé turned to me one night and said, “You and your mom love to make comments during movies.” He said this kindly, chuckling, but it was like an explosion went off in my head. WE TALKED CONSTANTLY DURING ALL THE MOVIES. We love the commentary!!! We love making jokes!!! We love asking questions!!! My poor father & poor fiancé sat there silently, patiently, probably desperately trying to listen to what was happening.
- My mom is a very creative person—always has been, always will be. She had set aside her painting while she raised her three kids, and in retirement has really leaned into it again. I LOVE talking with her about her painting, and she LOVES talking to me about my writing. She’ll send me pictures and I’ll email her my stories. We critique and discuss and learn from one another. Despite our different art mediums, I think this really connects us, and I no doubt get my creativity from her. (My parents were always extremely supportive of my writing, & I’m so grateful.)
I know I’m not the perfect daughter. I’ve cut our phone calls short before because I’ve gotten frustrated with something she’s said or some button she’s pushed. Immediately regret washes over me and I call her back within minutes. And she always picks up, carrying on the conversation as if nothing happened. A mother’s love. ❤
Honestly, I could write about my mother all day—in some ways, I do. Many of my stories feature strong or quirky women characters, deriving from her. Often I find myself writing stories that focus on the complexity of mother-daughter relationships. They are so beautifully dynamic and alive.
But one things for sure—I am my mother’s daughter. (Thank God.)