A Mother’s Perspective – Understanding My Mother’s Daughter

One night, back when I was an obnoxious, rebellious teenager, I was arguing with my mother for the hundredth time over who knows what, and she said to me, “I hope you have a daughter someday. Then you’ll know.” I brushed off her words, as I usually did, and stomped out of the room. Whatever.

As fate would have it, I was blessed with not one, but two daughters and, yes – now, I know.

I was an awful daughter. Not an awful person, but a self-absorbed, rude, ignorant teenager who didn’t care to realize that the woman who gave birth to me was doing the best she could. To be fair, she was judgmental, and had old-fashioned ideas of what a woman’s place in the world should be, and I just wasn’t having it. We were VERY different people who never agreed on anything. We were each as stubborn as the day is long.

And there was my father, always the soft-spoken referee, always trying to gently diffuse the situation between two fiery, opinionated women, always trying to be the calming voice of reason. I didn’t make it easy for either of them.

I always swore that things would be different between me and my own daughters, and that I would listen to them, and always try to support them and guide them. And things ARE different. Now that both are in their 20s – one daughter is married and living and on the West Coast, and the other, who recently moved out, visits at least once a week – we all get along much better. Go figure.

But the truth is, I do miss my mother. After I’d gotten married, moved out and had children of my own, things improved between us. We spoke on the phone daily. I can’t honestly say we were close, not like some mothers and daughters are, but we came to respect each other enough to know when to keep our opinions to ourselves, and when to just listen.

In fact, there have been many times over the years when I would open my mouth to say something to my own daughters, and my mother’s voice came out. There’s no denying. In some cases, I’m definitely my mother’s daughter.

So, yes, now I do know. I’ve felt all the pain and worry a mother feels, I’ve shed all the tears, and I’ve protected my girls as best I can against the world up to this point. And although she’s been gone 10 years, I think my mother would be proud of me if she were still alive. She may not have agreed with all of my child-rearing methods but I think, overall, she would’ve been proud.

One night, a couple of years ago, my youngest (the feisty, opinionated one) told me she knew I always wanted things to be better between us than they were between my mother and me. “They are, Mom,” she said, putting her hand on mine. “You’re killing it.”

I hope all the moms out there who worry, and are overprotective, and shed all their tears for their children know this – you’re killing it, too.

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

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