When I was thirteen, my mom asked me, “Would you rather have a mom like me or a mom like X?” X was a permissive and borderline neglectful mother and my mom was trying to prove a point. But, it backfired. My immediate answer was, “X!”
Imagine the indignities I suffered with parents who cared: I wasn’t allowed to go to the mall unchaperoned; my parents insisted on talking to a parent when I was spending the night. It wasn’t the norm. So, through my thirteen year old lens, my mom cared way too much! She was SO embarrassing and overprotective, to boot!
My mother has never been one to take the easy way out or to be satisfied with mediocrity. She does her best. Motherhood was no exception. Sometimes I demanded more than she had to give. Still, she hung in there. My mom may not be perfect, but she was the perfect mom for me. She was just what I needed and love abounded.
In the same way, I’m convinced that Ely was hand-crafted to be our daughter and to transform us from a couple to a family. She stole our hearts and began teaching us about ourselves on the day she was born. She has redefined who we are individually and a couple.
Recently, R and I were talking about bed-sharing. For conversation’s sake, I asked him if he’d be okay with bed-sharing if Ely were a boy. His response: “I don’t know, but I think your bond would be different if Ely were a boy.” My response: “I think my bond would be different with any baby that weren’t Ely.”
I’ve been incredibly blessed with a mother who took her job seriously and a daughter who seems custom designed for our family. That leaves me smack in the middle with profound gratitude to my mother and great responsibility to my daughter. Such a position demands action. It demands that I pay special attention to my choices in mothering and that I work to get to know my daughter and what she needs.
So, on this, my first Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the lesson my mother taught me by example: When it comes to life and motherhood, perfection is NOT the goal, but nothing less than your best is acceptable. What Ely needs to know is that, no matter what, she is the perfect daughter for us. I can promise her only one thing: I won’t be perfect, but I’ll try my hardest to be the mom she needs. If she’s anything like me, that will necessarily mean that at some point, she will be anxious to trade me in for a less embarrassing, less concerned model.