When I was a kid, my three sisters and I would vow to never turn out like our mother. Mom could be a kind of ditz about things, but at the time I don’t think we had a true appreciation for all she did.
When I was growing up, my dad had a job that took him all over the world, which left my mom home alone to deal with us kids on her own for long periods of time. My mom quit working once I was born so she could stay home with her growing family. Before long there were five kids. Mom made our clothes and cut our hair and made ends meet. Mom always had kids to shuttle to piano lessons and girl scout meetings and baseball games.
As we got older mom chose to fill her time with volunteering. When we were kids mom tried to get us to help, but being the selfish kids we were, we weren’t all that interested. She donated blood. She pushed us to try out for the marching band (my sister and I played the glockenspiel). All the awkward things that teenagers hate to do. We opened our home to exchange students our age and from the local university. My parents did lots of entertaining, business and personal. My siblings and I vowed not to do the same things to our own kids.
Somewhere along the way, as my own two kids started to get older, I found myself making some of the same choices my mom did. When I lose track of things and my kids complain I’ve got a memory problem, I better appreciate how well my mom did with five children. I enjoy volunteering now and understand how fulfilling it can be. I do appreciate the love for food and cooking my mom passed onto me. I’m not afraid to dress colorfully, or a bit flamboyantly, another trait from Mom.
While I used to dread the possibility of turning into my mother, I am starting to really embrace it because, despite her faults, Mom really is an incredible woman. And she’s still growing strong at 78.