I’m going to preface this by letting you know upfront that this is going to be sappy. I cried while I wrote this entire post. So it might not make sense, it might seem dumb or silly, but it’s definitely raw.
I was trying to think about a Works For Me Wednesday post and I couldn’t get past the need to share this story. I felt compelled to. It’s hard to share because it’s overwhelmingly personal, but I need to share it anyway.
Recently, my kids had their last day of Mother’s Day Out before the Christmas break. They both put on small concerts in their classes, but unfortunately they were both at the same time. My husband took the day off and he went to see my son, my little guy is kind of a Daddy’s boy, so it made sense.
I went to see my daughter and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it. She’s only 22 months old, so how earth shattering could a class performance really be?
I’m not sure I was really prepared for the emotions that would sweep through me, watching my little girl perform something she had practiced for weeks. Watching her sing along with her peers. Watching her dance and watching her truly feel the music.
To be honest, it felt like she was performing just for me.
My eyes were glued to her and I was in total awe of this little baby girl who was belting out her favorite Christmas songs with no reservation and absolutely no fear.
I lost my mother at a young age. I was 12 when she passed away from ovarian cancer. I’ve lacked a mother/daughter relationship for so long that it had ceased to hurt. Oh, I miss my mother every single day. The relationship between a mother and daughter though, I no longer felt like I longed for it.
When I was pregnant with my little girl, I remember thinking that I’d finally have a mother and daughter relationship. What would that feel like? Would it fill the void left by losing my mother? I’d be on the other side of the relationship, would I be a good mom to a little girl? I just wasn’t sure.
In this moment though, watching my little girl perform, my heart overflowed. Tears fell from my eyes, and to be honest I’m sure I probably looked like a total dork. With my eyes filled with tears, I felt pieces of my heart mending back together. Pieces that had long since been broken.
You see in this moment I saw my daughter as separate from me. There comes a point when you realize that your children are their own unique person, and not simply an extension of you. Seeing her as separate from me lent a vulnerability to our relationship that had never been there before. The kind of vulnerability that brings a daughter back to her mom when times get tough. The kind of vulnerability that can only exist between a mother and daughter. The unconditional love and respect of two women who will go through the ups and downs of life and come out the other side closer and wiser.
That feeling I had with my mother. It was back.
I knew we’d have our troubles, I knew we’d drive each other crazy. I also knew that none of that mattered and every hurdle we approached we’d come out the other side stronger and better. The delicate and beautiful relationship of a mother and daughter, I had glimpsed it after 15 years of living without it.
Now, I’m not taking anything away from my relationship with my son. The relationship between son and mother is a beautiful beautiful thing. Losing my mother at such a young and important age had such a profound effect on every bit of my life though. My world was shattered and I’m not sure I ever totally appreciated just how much so. In this moment though, it all came rushing back to me. Watching my little girl prance around, rekindled feelings within me that had long since been laid to rest. To protect myself, I had denied myself close relationships with women because I knew just how deep those bonds could go. I couldn’t allow myself to get burned again (I also lost my older sister months after my mother passed away), so I had a wall put up. My daughter tore down all of those walls with her beautiful 22 month old rendition of Jingle Bells, and I’m forever grateful.
I’m not looking to her to fill voids within me. I’m not going to hold her up to any big expectations. She’s my little girl and I want the world for her, in return I get to protect her with my life and selflessly look out for her well being. I am honored and privileged to do so. To know that my mother must have had these feelings for me, is both overwhelming and heart breaking. How much it must have hurt her to leave us!
So this Christmas, I don’t need gifts. I don’t need anything. I have been given a miracle. The realization and knowledge of how much my mother loved (and still loves) me. A second chance at a mother and daughter relationship. I am going to treasure it and I am going to embrace it, and most of all I am going to Thank God for it.
So here’s the video. If you read through all of that, you might be expecting a performance worthy of an Oscar. You might be disappointed! Moments like these though, they are what make life truly worth it. Like those Mastercard commercials:
Mother’s Day Out: $95 a month
Pretty Dress: $10 at Cracker Barrel (day after Christmas sale last year!woohoo!)
Making Mommy cry: Priceless