My mama

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day! I’ve seen a ton of tweets today from people who claim they have the best mother in the world. I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old, I would hang out a lot at my friend Julie’s house. Her mother was one of the sweetest women I remember from my childhood – soft-spoken, attentive, nice, and probably a little overprotective. After having spent an afternoon at Julie’s house, I told my mother that Julie had the best mother in the world. My mother laughed at the time, but I can’t even begin to imagine how hurtful my innocent comment must’ve been to her.

Even now, I can safely say that my mother is not the best mother in the world, but she is far from the worst. We’ve had a good relationship my entire life, as far as I can recall, but I would describe her as a fairly “hands-off” kind of mother -- never doting and hardly ever affectionate. Not that she hasn’t been critical of me. I just feel she’s never really offered any constructive criticism or advice. But whatever she and my father did must’ve been “right” or “good enough”, because I think I turned out – for the most part – pretty well!

My mother is an incredibly independent and strong woman -- much stronger than I think I could ever be -- and I think that has both directly and indirectly led me to have the beliefs I do in terms of gender differences and equality. But my mother’s unsentimental way of raising me has made me want to provide any potential children I may have with a very warm upbringing, one filled with all the pies, cupcakes, baseball games, afterschool activities and weekend trips I hardly ever got to experience with my parents. Of course I realize this is all very easy to say and much, much, much more difficult to do. And one day I may wake up to find that I am much more like my mother than I had ever imagined.

But for now, my mother and I are very, very different people ... but I appreciate her for who she is. One thing I have learned from my parents that I really value is allowing people to be who they are. I think it’s implicit in my mother's “hands off”-ness that she accepts me and my decisions, my values, my dreams and my beliefs, no matter how different they are from hers. And to me, that is the emblem of a mother's unconditional love.

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