The mom utters the words spoken throughout generations, joining scores of women before her and sealing her fate: Because I said so. She pauses for a moment and reflects upon her parenting journey before concluding: This is it. I have become my mother.
You want to the truth about your maternal destiny? I think you can handle it.
Many years ago I worked at a center tasked with preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. A therapist there empathized with our parent-clients by pointing out that there was an impactful power in those parents’ own childhood experiences. She said that we often don’t parent from what we wish, but rather from what we know.
I think moms everywhere can relate to this phenomenon, which may manifest in ways that are not catastrophic but are still somewhat startling.
But even as I have marveled at the channeling of my own mother as an apparent default mode in my adulthood, this Mother’s Day I am filled with gratitude for that reality.
I am the daughter of a voracious reader. She is an enthusiastic champion of her local library and an active member of multiple book clubs, one full of fabulous ladies who have gathered since my childhood to discuss great works of literature (and to eat and talk and laugh).
I am the daughter of a teacher. Education was always valued and embraced in our home. I understood I should always treat my teachers with the utmost respect. I was encouraged to work hard and to never stop learning.
I am the daughter of an activist. While she did not march in the Civil War, as once misspoken by a former student, she has always championed civil rights and has advocated for those who were disenfranchised. She has volunteered endless hours and written countless letters and emails and has walked the walk. She is a passionate, patriotic American who takes her civic duties seriously.
I am the daughter of a cheerleader. Not the kind that jumps up and down on the sidelines, but the kind that believes you can do anything you want to do. The kind who builds you up constantly and who offers advice, encouragement, and babysitting to help you realize your dreams.
Now that I am middle-aged there is no denying that in significant ways I am my mother’s daughter, and the truth is, that is a pretty wonderful thing.
Want to get a better handle on your maternal destiny? Watch Frankie Heck enjoy the best ever Mother’s Day gift with her mom on The Middle or read Sharon Old’s poignant poem to her mother.
Bess Kercher explores the reality of motherhood in her blog "A Few Good Moms...Can You Handle the Truth?" Bess lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons. You can read more of her writing at www.maemucho.com.