I wonder what my mom would think of me today. If we could have a conversation, what would she tell me? Would she say she was grateful that I have been given many opportunities, maybe many more than she ever had? I just finished reading “What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most” Edited by Elizabeth Benedict. It has many short vignettes from different women who are authors and journalists, who share the gift their mother gave them. Some of their mothers are still alive and others have lost their moms. I related to some, and did not have the experience of others. Ann Hood was one author that made me think and ponder about my own mom:
“A mother’s love is like that. I know this now that I’m a mother. We give our children the best of ourselves so that they can find the best of what is in them. The day I rejected the gift of the white suit, I got the best gift of all. My mother let me know that I had finally become that person I’d dreamed of becoming: a girl who spoke her mind, who was independent and opinionated. A girl who knew who she was and what she wanted. A girl who would not wear an all-white pants suit. And by recognizing that, she gave me permission to go into my own mismatched future. What a gift.” Page 59
While my mother never had the opportunity to see and spend time with me once I found my voice, I hope that when I was a kid I was as feisty as I am now. My sister I suppose could attest to that. Or maybe that came later in life. I do know that I now speak my mind, am definitely opinionated, know who I am, and usually know what I want. So after finishing “What My Mother Gave Me” I wanted to figure out what I would say about what my mother gave me.
It is a tough one for me. I really have no material possessions from my mom. The only things that allow me to remember her are what are left of our family photos. She must have been off cleaning and taking care of us, or she was the one taking the photos, because she is in very few of the photos. The gift my mom gave me was taking care of people. I watched her do it. Whether it was the children in her at-home day care, or older women at church, my grandma, us kids, her classroom at school, neighborhood children, she was always taking care of someone. Chris often reminds me that I need to take care of me first before extending myself so much. After reading this book, I realized that was the gift my mom gave me.
What about you? Do you know the gift your mother gave you?