Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts on Becoming My Mother

Upon visiting my mother last weekend for Mother's Day, myself and my brothers had to razz her a little for never allowing anyone to photograph her. Her only reply was "Just look at Karen!" I had to think, really? In many ways I don't look a thing like her, but in other ways, I look just like her. Admittedly, there have been times when I wake up first thing, see myself in the mirror, and think, "Mom?". And while my mom was a mother to 2.5 children by the time she was my age, there are definitely some major traits I carry of hers, most of them traits anyone would love to have.

For starters, my mom loves to nurture. As any mother does, all through my childhood she put the health and needs of the children well above her own, often wearing the same shoes or jackets for years so the family could keep the growing children clothed. She also made sure we knew that other people and animals have feelings. We were taught never to make others feel bad or put them down, never to hit animals, and always to care for them and treat them as equal members of the family.

I didn't just learn about loving others, but also to care for myself. Many of the healthy habits I have today I learned from Mom, and I still love discussing nutrition and cooking with her. Growing up, my parents grew many of our vegetables, which we ate fresh in the summer and canned in the winter, something I had no idea was a luxury until now. As a very young child, my exposure to processed foods and factory farmed produce was minimal, and looking back I have to partially credit my current health to that.

But it isn't just values I find myself repeating. I am an early riser, I love coffee and I love to read. I love to find joy in small beautiful things, like dandelions on an unmown yard or brown-eyed susans growing in the ditch along the freeway. I love solitude and peace. These are all things I know my mother to love, and grew up watching her love those things, and naturally learning to love them myself.

As I age, I know now that most of the time she was right, and when she wasn't, it was with loving intention. I hope that if I ever have a family of my own, I will succeed in passing along the ability to love and nurture as uncondionally as my mom did and continues to do for myself and my brothers, and my dad. I am proud to say I am like her.

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