I was talking with a friend the other day about some of our thoughts and opinions on things. “You know, my mom made me,” she said.
“Well, they say all girls grow up to become their mothers,” I replied with both a smile and a shudder.
“No,” she persisted. “My mom made me who I am, not who she was. She always wanted the best for me, she encouraged me to do what I wanted, and she was proud of the things I did even when they were different from her own experiences.”
I thought about this for a minute. Then I smiled again – no shudder this time. “You know, my mom made me, too.” And that is so true. She didn’t make me into her own “mini-me.” She made me into me.
My mother loved to talk and talk, but she realized that I was shy and reserved and didn’t criticize me for that. She was a seamstress beyond compare, but she was never upset with me when I couldn’t sew a straight line. She was a milliner – a hat maker – but she didn’t act too disappointed when I refused to wear hats. Mom was a stylish and fashionable lady, but she never insulted my preference for more simple and tailored attire. She loved primitive antiques and had lots of collectables, yet she always complimented the more polished furnishings I chose for my home.
My mother had me, her only child, late in her life. She loved me completely and utterly no matter what I did or didn’t do. She encouraged me to take dance lessons, baton lessons, piano lessons, and more. She raised me in church and made sure my faith was personal and meaningful. She scraped and saved and sent me to a girls’ school (which also “made” me, but that’s another story).
My mother made my wedding dress – and veil, too, of course. She wallpapered the kitchen of our new house when I was too pregnant to help. She made clothes for me all my life, even when I was an adult. She and my dad would come every year and wash the windows and make them sparkle and shine. She gave me plants and then later helped me nurse them back to health. She made watermelon pickles and damson preserves and gave them to us year after year after year. And she embarrassed me thoroughly by talking about me incessantly to her friends and anyone else who would listen.
Because of the unconditional love and support I received from my mom, I don’t worry – too much – about what other people think. I know people who seem to constantly be seeking approval for what they do, but never seem to realize that it’s most important to know deep inside that the acceptance they need most is their own.
Yes, my mom made me into me, and loved me dearly. I couldn’t have been blessed with anything better. Thank you, Mom. Wish you were here.