Thanks for Reading Suburban Adventure

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear Momma

As I backed out of my mother's driveway I chuckled as I thanked her for inspiring me. I told her that my next entry would be about her and mothers so here it goes....

The intense connection between mothers and daughters is like no other.  It is loving and provocating, it is intense and passionate and it is often a source of great pleasure as well as great frustration.  As a child, I recall that my Grandmother never liked my Mother's hair when she changed styles. My mother was never ruffled by that however Im sure at one point, she would have been happy to hear from her Mom that her hair looked pretty.
Ironically, my hair is never quite right either. My Mother thinks it looks "okay"- either too blonde, too dark, too long or just too too. When I ask her if she likes it she replies- "do you"?   It is not exactly the response Im hoping for but after all these years- it just makes me laugh. I often challenge her for fun by replying- that wasn't my question- do you like it Mom- to which she replies - it looks fine.

Fine is a word that I never enjoyed and is used quite frequently in my family of origin. When I ask my Mother how she is and other members of my family, they often reply fine. If you ask me how Im doing I will typically say, Great thank you or very well. Unless Im stressed out,  then I might say "Im alright, just a little hectic right now".  I don't typically vary on my response as they are all accurate.
Im seldom in a bad mood, thankfully.  Fine- in my opinion is so bland and nondescript.  It's the same as ok- that to me is interpreted as "Im breathing and going through the motions but Im not exactly happy". Which is fine if you are indeed not happy but it's the same response all the time that throws me off. My mother always says she's fine to which I often follow up with- what's the matter?  This dialogue has gone on my entire life. It's rather amusing.
My father always replied that he was "wonderful".  They have both entertained me on many levels with their responses.

We long for approval and a sense that our mothers think we are successful people.  Any hint of disapproval or a comment from her that suggests otherwise can cause instant agitation.
I believe this is because we as daughters,  interpret every suggestion from our moms as an assault on our ability to make good decisions.  A mother's opinion counts the most and while she may not realize it, it is her affirmation of our goodness that often defines just how we see ourselves.  We often share the little details of our life with our mothers, we share our dreams and our disappointments. They are our sounding boards if we are lucky and the pillar of strength if we are even luckier.

My mother, although petite in stature is one of the strongest women that I know. In fact the past few years have been hellacious for her, yet she carries on with little complaint.

 She lost her parents, my father and her world of comfort in a very short period of time. She went from living with a caring and attentive husband to being single at 67. The chores of the house- tending to the garbage and all the "manly" chores that once belonged to my father, were now for her enjoyment.  Soon after my father died she had serious health issues. Since my father was a doctor, the instant comfort and attention that we all received was markedly different. My father would simply call the hospital, or call his physician friends, we were on the inside and it made all the difference in the world. My Mom never had health issues until he died. This has been a great challenge for her and for all of us. My Dad fixed everything no matter what the issue was. He jumped in and found a solution or a resolution, always.

This luxury is no longer a part of my mothers life and at her age, it is a tough one to get used to. Life is hard for her without my father and yet she bravely takes on new challenges. She spends six months of the year in Florida, alone.  Her house that she has lived in for 41 years is now on the market and she is excited to move to yet another home but she is alone.  My mother does not complain, often and simply goes about life as it is dealt to her. She has an acceptance of fate that is like my father's- perhaps it is the generation or the similar Italian upbringing. Perhaps it comes with age,  Im sure one day it will all make great sense to me.

My Mother and I are very close, but we are very different. I think she just realized this yesterday as she actually verbalized it.  We both love fashion, family, great food, gold, cooking, mercedes benz, culture, music and flowers. My Mother is quiet, demure- always proper and appropriate. She is not a loud or boisterous person and has no room in her life for gossip. She cherishes her family and friendships yet loves her solitude. She does not need to be surrounded by people and incoming messages at all times. She enjoys quiet and serenity.
This is probably where we differ the most. Im not so quiet and demure and I love having people over all the time. I love a house full of friends, my children's, mine and I truly enjoy a big gathering. My mother enjoys all of those things but in strict moderation. I suppose that aspect of my personality is more like my father.

As we both age, I think our relationship also evolves to another level.  I believe my divorce threw my mother off a bit as she does not believe in divorce. She thinks it's the easy way out which I often argue with her about. I have said this before and I will say it again.  It is far simpler to stay in an unhappy marriage- if not abusive- than it is to get divorced. Divorce is the hard way out and unless you are divorced, your commentary is meaningless as it stems from opinion rather than experience. I don't think she enjoys seeing me raise two children however she sees my children thriving. I think she is proud of all of us even if she doesn't proclaim it from the rooftops.

The connection between mother and daughter is one of extreme passion.  As daughters we cherish our mothers love and we long for approval. As mothers, we want the best for our daughters. We love them with intensity and our words of advice can be interpreted as criticism. I see that as Giavanna's mother, when I dare suggest she change her outfit. She gets mad and takes it personally while I just want her to look prettier.  She wants my approval as I seek approval for my own mother. The cycle will continue as I mature into my role as Mother.  I think mother's are tougher on their daughters as they see themselves in their eyes, their struggles and their longings.

I love you Mom
We are indeed extremely different but our love for each other is the exact same. Our desire for each other to be happy is the exact same so I find that wonderful.  So what if you worry about the weather and I don't or you are more conservative than I.  It's all minor in the scheme of life as our goals and objectives are in sync.  So my girlfriends, grap the phone and call your mother today.
Your relationship may not be perfect, but is one of the most intimate, inspiring and challenging one that you will ever have. xo

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