Growing up, I always idolized my dad, and if I was going to fight with either parent, it was my mom. I know it was unfair of me, but there is a little truth to the age-old stereotype that there is a special relationship between father and daughter and equally the same between mother and son.
Now, I don’t have verifiable proof of this as a mother because I do not have a son yet (pregnant with number three but waiting until the birth for the grand reveal), but I have witnessed it with my husband and daughters. As far as mothers and sons, I only have anecdotal evidence from friends and family members with boys.
My poor mother was always the butt of all the jokes in the house with me in a close second. This could be a result of only having brothers, but I am not convinced of this as I am slowly becoming the subject of most jokes in our house now that I have the title of mother. I hope I can be as good of a sport about it as she is. We always told her not to take it too personally; she was just the easiest target.
She was an easy target for many reasons. The typical reasons.
“Make sure to use your manners!” Yes, got it mom, I am 14. You have been telling me that since I could talk.
“Remember to buckle your seat belt!” Yes, got it mom, I legitimately have never been in the car without a seat belt. You raised me.
“Remember you always have the right to say no! Except, of course, when someone offers you a meal that doesn’t look appetizing to you. In that case, you have to say thank you and try it. That is just being a polite guest.” Yes, got it mom, every time I leave the house, I don’t need to hear that.
Then there were the time that she would be so confused at the dinner table in the middle of one of our stories because she never knew the latest pop culture terminology, and my dad would have to translate to terms from the 70s. Or when she said she was going to wait up for us and would be sound asleep on the couch when we got home. Every. Time. Those silly kinds of things.
It was all innocent fun and really just playful things we made fun of her about until I turned 14. My teenage years were the worst for my relationship with my parents. My brothers even coined the phrase “hellion years” for the two years that I was just a total crap stain. Every word that came out of my mouth was dripping with disdain, and I honestly believed my mom just wanted to annoy me with the rules and checking in. That, combined with the fact that my mom’s nickname is Face because she literally can’t hide how she really feels without it being written all over her expression, only fueled the fire of teenage Emily’s righteousness.
During one argument in which my mom exasperatedly said, “I hope you have a daughter like you some day,” I yelled back, “Me too! At least then I would understand her!”
Ugh. Teenagers. I think about that now because I have two daughters, and I just pray that they treat me with more respect than I treated my mom.
That being said, our relationship evolved as I grew more mature. Throughout college I felt like we mended some of the wounds (that I, most likely, inflicted), and I started seeing my mom from a somewhat adult perspective. We grew close. When I got married, my eyes were opened even more to the fact that I have had an incredible example of a holy wife my whole life. I was so thankful.
I never knew that the day I became a mom would change the way that I looked at my mom forever.
I vividly remember the first time my husband was traveling for work, and I was home with this brand new baby and thinking, wow, my mom did this 30 years ago before she could just text her mom questions or even call her mom whenever she wanted because of long distance phone call prices. I was feeling so lucky.
There are so many things now that I completely understand! I already know I will be the butt of all jokes because I foresee being the mom sitting at the dining room table clueless to the latest pop culture references. I am just not that cool. I can totally understand the worrying and will probably be sound asleep on the couch every time my teenager comes home at night. And I have a very telling face. I am sure that will incite frustration amongst my future teenage daughters.
But most importantly, I now see just how much my mom poured herself out for us. Being moms, we just give and give and give and sometimes feel like it never stops. I know now that it never really does because my mom is the most selfless woman I know, and she is still giving. I have surely started pitching in more around the house when we visit because I have come to a place of motherhood solidarity.
It is an incredible thing to look at my mom and realize she loves me in the same way that I love my daughters. It is humbling knowing that kind of love exists for me.
When I would tell her not to worry because I am an adult, I see how that is just impossible. Once a mom, always a mom. No matter what. Moms can’t just turn off the worry switch because your children will always be your children. And my parents are fantastic at respecting and enjoying their children as adults, they can party with the best of them! But, it doesn’t change the fact that we are their kids.
It has made me feel exactly like my daughters when they tell me that they never want to be without me. I never want to be without my mom (in the existential sense, we live nowhere near each other).
I am so grateful that I have my mom. If you are blessed enough to have your mom or the woman in your life who filled that role, hug her or just call and tell her that you’re thankful for her love! Small things like that don’t feel small to a mom’s heart.