I remember the moment quite distinctly. I can’t tell you what I was doing or wearing or even the exact date. It isn’t that sort of memory. What I remember is the thought, simple enough and yet paradigm shifting: I realized that I have distinct memories of my mother in her thirties, my age.
It couldn’t be true! I remember my mother was old, she had it all figured out. She could do anything, fix anything, make anything. When she didn’t do something, it was because she didn’t want to do it. She was the master of her universe (and mine, too).
But me, in my thirties I’m still figuring things out. I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I have a list of things I need to do so long I know it won’t all be done. And the things I’d like to do? Don’t get me started. I’m learning and changing all the time.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood. My children need me to love them, help them, fix their problems, show them attention. Constantly. I panic that I cannot live up to the ideal they’ve unconsciously set for me and they'll realize their mistake. (I know that I will have a different battle as they grow older, but they are still young and adoring now).
And then I looked at my daughter, almost the exact age I would have been when my memories of my mother became clear. And I realized she had the same utter confidence in my abilities. If she thinks of me the same way I thought of my mom, could my mom at 32 have felt the same way I do now?
Remembering my mother taught me something. Doing my best is good enough. It doesn’t matter than I can’t do everything and fix everything. It doesn’t even matter that I make mistakes sometimes. What matters is that I am there for my children, trying everyday, loving them every day. I don’t remember my mom failing, but I remember feeling secure in her love for me.
On a side note, what is it about moms? Even though in my head I know she is a fallible person, I still believe she can fix everything for me. Can’t get my Christmas PJ’s finished? She’ll mail them to me. Advise for the kids? She is the go to person. When she is coming to visit I count down the days till she comes and makes everything better. When she leaves I’ll have a clean house, happy children, and projects finished.
Maybe, after my children are finished being teenagers, their childhood adoration and dependence will mature to appreciation and gratitude as mine has (I wouldn’t mind some less-dependant adoration, either).
So today when my youngest asks me for the 300 billionth time for a “peacock” ride, I will think of my mom and my childhood memories and my respect for her and let him climb on my back one more time. Mom, this piggyback ride’s for you.