When I was pregnant with my first child, I was elated to know I was having a girl. I was happy to know that I would have a little piece of my boldness, style and brashness left on the world. After picking out a name for her (I thought I was having a baby boy), the next thing left to do what was to wait for her to arrive.
In September 2007, when she came into the world, and my youngest in 2009, I promised myself I would be a better mother to them than mine was to me. This doesn’t mean my mother was negligent or horrible–but she was always working. I wanted her to be around more for me, but I understand she also had to take are of me and my siblings. I know she wanted to do more for me, but life at that moment didn’t make that possible. She went on field trips with me and my siblings, signed field trip forms and made sure we were okay among the other emotional labor of being a mother.
I made the decision to let my childhood with my mother be the base and build from that.
The best part of having daughters I can to allow wisdom I have gleaned to give to them in order to arm and protect from the craziness of the outside world. I am able to give them both the best of my experience and allow them space to make their own decisions. I want them to have the space and freedom I didn’t have to express myself as I wanted. Being the daughters of an artist, it is important they have and retain the ability to determine whom she will–aside from outside pressure.
I believe one of the reasons mothers are so happy to know they have daughters is to pass on traditions set and given to us as girls, and make our own. We want the memories of Easter dresses, Proms and Homecomings, along with bridal shopping. As mothers, we morph into these beings capable of seeing future and past all at once. We want the best for our daughters as mothers–protect them from so much of the world which is ugly and hostile. Giving them the best of what we are, who we are or what we wanted to become.
The relationship with mother’s and daughters, the beauty of that relationship, is unable to be static–women by nature are dynamic. Growth is dynamic. Change from that growth is dynamic and constant. We don’t have to become our mothers to be better to our daughters—we need to do the crucial thing: be present.
In being present, we allow our daughters to tell us who they are–what they like, what they don’t like, what their natural talents are. The best part about being a mother–no road map, and sometimes you get to make up the rules as you go.
[Image from Author’s personal album]