Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm Not Like You

I could see the hurt behind her eyes the minute the words were out of my mouth, but I could not recall them.  I wanted to, but I could not find the words.  They were stuck in my throat.

“I’m not like you,” I had said.

Even if I could have taken them back, I don’t think she would have believed me.  The damage was already done.

I had meant the words.  I suppose that’s why I couldn’t unsay them.

“I don’t think I’ll be the same kind of parent that you were,” I had also said.

We were having a discussion on parenting.  I was home from college for the weekend.  I was studying Child Development and Family Relations as part of my Early Childhood Education major.   I loved what I was learning. 

“It’s not that you did anything wrong…”  I tried to soften the blow.  “It’s just that we’re two different people.”

She gave me that look.  The look that said “You think you know everything.”
I suppose I did think that.  My Mom wasn’t perfect and I knew it.  I saw her flaws and I wanted to be different.   I didn’t want to repeat her mistakes.

“You’ll be surprised,” she said.   “You’ll be surprised to find out how much you are like me.”  It’s all the ammunition she had.

She was right about that, though I didn’t see it at first.

After the parenting classes, the real parenting began, and I was surprised at how often I opened my mouth and heard my mother’s voice come out.   I found myself repeating  her words, her methods.  I tweaked her methods some, but less than I had planned.
As I get older, I often see her in my mirror and I notice that I mirror her in other ways.   She passed her love of writing on to me and her love for music.  Like her, I love to make a difference, hate injustice, and often bite off more than I can chew.

I no longer question her parenting methods because I know that she did the best she could and loved me more than anyone else ever could.  Those are the first two laws of parenting.
Today is her birthday, and though I can no longer visit her, I can remember her with gratitude and hope that she is happy with the woman I have become. 

I hope she smiles when she sees that I am like her after all.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom.

Linda Garner

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