I was told my child was sarcastic and difficult on a particularly tired day at daycare. It didn’t take a lot of insight to realize where that came from, just a long, hard look in the mirror. Of course, that required a conversation because he needed to understand what it’s like to be that way all the time, you know, like his mom. Upon reflection, I can only hope that I will one day be the kind of mom that my mother was and is to this day. She taught me a lot.
She taught me being a mom takes sacrifice. I now have an understanding of how much swimming lessons cost (and music lessons and dance classes) and how much of a pain in the butt it is to be the chauffeur to eight hundred billion things when all you want to do is have a bath and put your feet up. She did way more of that stuff than I have been willing to do. It’s not just the numerical value but an awareness of what it detracts from.
It’s not $70, it’s the difference between new shoes and not getting new shoes. It’s a night at home watching videos instead of a night out with friends because entertainment is expensive.
She taught me how strong you have to be to stick by a sick kid. I was a sick kid. Until I was 16 years old, she was endlessly having to take me to the doctors, hospitals, specialists, all to make sure I survived. I was oriented rather quickly into the life as mom of an asthmatic kid and I have better insight into what she went through with me. Every night I spent on a parent’s cot in the hospital I realized how hard it was for her to have to deal with all that when she had other kids to consider too.
In all the tough stuff, she found joy.
She taught me to have fun. She was a way more fun mom than I am. She took us on road trips and big adventures. She let us see so much beyond our backyard (which flooded one time when we lived in Brackendale).
We moved a lot. At the time, I thought, please for the love of all things that are good, can we not move again? But the thing about not being from anywhere is that you get to be from everywhere. You get to claim a piece of everywhere you travel and you get broad horizons. You also learn to pack with all the efficiency of a fugitive and don’t end up with broken dishes. She was in relentless pursuit of the best possible life for us and it was with love she plotted a new course for us to find better educational opportunities, greater community and excitement. I have great stories to share with my son.
My mom shared a story with my son on hearing about his difficult and sarcastic behaviour. She told him about a time she was called to the school because his mommy rolled her eyes and the teacher was mad. She admitted how hard it was not to roll her own eyes at being called about something so silly. And in that admission, I realized the apple didn’t fall far from the tree and one day I might be half the mom she is today.