by KEISHEL A. WILLIAMS
I call her Mother. Not Mom, Ma, Mommy, Mama or Mimi – Mother! The tone in which I utter that word is a reminder of the journey my mom and I endured to get to where we are today. The Mother-Daughter relationship can be a complex one, and we’ve all had those intermittent moments when we wonder “Are you even my mother?” with our moms. The things they say and do that may not quite fit into our idea of how to deal with a daughter is something all daughters grow through when establishing a relationship with their moms.
People find it strange when I say “Mother.” I’ve heard it sounds militant, or odd. However, I spent a good part of my life with my grandmother who I call Mommy! My time with my grandmother represents an era in my life when I fantasized about an idealistic life. I remember lots of warm hugs and overzealous fussing about the things I wore. Baked goods and warm food, and perhaps extended compensation for the fact that my mother was far away. Grandma things. My relationship with my own mother, on the other hand, wasn’t as natural as people believe Mother-Daughter relationships should be. When we did reunite, we clashed all the time and it bothered me that we seemed to be like strangers. We failed to understand each other and communication between us was as great as two repelling magnets. But she was always my mother.
My mother is a strong, fearless, intelligent, compassionate, educated and God-fearing woman. She is a woman about her business, some would say a “no-nonsense” woman. She made sure our family ran like a well-oiled machine: we were never hungry, the house never fell apart, she cared for her husband and children and we always had warm clothes on our backs. She is a leader. She is a woman. It wasn’t until I became an adult myself that I understood we are often a mirror image of our mothers, in my case both physically and personality wise. My mom and I share the same lips, smile, laugh and even tone of voice. We share many of the same ideologies, although we can be on totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to more modern subjects. We inherit a lot from our mothers and until we have had to walk in their shoes, we know absolutely nothing about them until we begin unconsciously living like them.
My journey went from “Mother, you don’t understand,” to
“Mother, tell me what you think about this!”
It wasn’t until late in life when she told me of her journey and difficulties with her own mother did I truly begin to understand and appreciate her not only as a woman but as my Mother. We spend so much time fantasizing about what we believe that woman who bore us should be – instinctively soft hugs and kisses, always laughing and playing, verbalizing feelings every day. And we fail to look at her as a woman who has been through her own journey, endured her own battles, overcame her own tribulations and walked through many fires to ensure we as daughters have a great life. When I think of her, she is a woman who has earned the title of Mother. She is a woman who, despite all other circumstances, decided to become a Mother. And although every day you love your mom, this is a special day dedicated to showing appreciation for your Mother!
Image: from my Mother’s Day Card, 2017