Now-a-days, it’s hard living in a different state than my mother does. Mostly around the holidays. It’s hard to believe we have not lived in the same state for almost 10 years.
To be honest, distance has done my mother and I well. I had a very strict upbringing, especially around my pre-teen and teenage years. My mother and I could not get along. We could not communicate, and I believed at that age that my mother’s sole purpose was to make my life miserable. Eventually I learned it was pretty typical for mothers and daughters to be at war during puberty. And when she got married and moved to her husband’s state when I was 18, I felt a type of freedom I had wanted to experience but couldn’t while she was still around.
Betty, as I was allowed to call her before the age of 7 and before we moved to the United States where other people thought it inappropriate, was the strict disciplinarian, teacher, enforcer, provider and nurturer most of my life. When it came to school work, she was a perfectionist. No excessive eraser marks, no sloppiness, no bent pages. She was a very involved parent through most of my formal schooling, only stepping back when I got to High School and was supposed to exhibit independence. To her, academics were #1.
At this age, although I may not have understood her parenting techniques, I cannot deny the fact that considering what she had, she did damn good. She herself had a distant relationship with her mother, got pregnant at 16, moved to the United States at age 23 to live with said mother, worked demeaning and off-the-books jobs just to made sure I had what I needed.
To this day, I am still learning my mother. That’s the beauty of building a relationship with her as an adult. We visit each other as often as we can, and we make the best of every moment. I joke around and say I can only take her in doses. This is partly true.
Distance does makes us closer. This year I’m going to be 28 years old. I’m not yet a mother. But I pray, when I do become one, I possess just half my mother’s strength and endurance.
Happy Mother’s day to all the wonderful moms who make the job look so easy!