The space that’s fixated exactly between karma and genetics? That’s basically where I take up residence. And I’m fairly certain there’s little to no plan for relocation. At least not any time soon. Friends, my daughter is so much like me. SO. MUCH. LIKE. ME. And as a result, I go back and forth between celebrating and commiserating.
My relationship with my mother is a fairly grievous one. It was never an affectionate one or at all an understanding one. It has always been that way. And when I look at how or why that’s been the case, my best conclusion is because that’s how the relationship was with my mom and her own mother. My late grandmother was a nasty person. She was abrasive, cynical, grumpy and just plain mean. I don’t consider my mother nasty. But she does possess a lot of negativity and other characteristics that are less desirable in a mom. She was raised with a distorted view of what a parent/child relationship should look like. And the older I get, the more I realize that my upbringing was a large result of her own experiences as a child and adolescent. So while I’ve had a strong dislike for her as a mother, I will say I now have a stronger acceptance as to why she is the way she is. It’s not an excuse but it is an understanding.
Parenting is hard. And it can be a heck of a lot harder without empathy, understanding, patience, compassion and love. Children need to know they are loved; they need to see it and they need to feel it. I tell my kiddos every single day that I love them. And I do it meaningfully. They know it. They see it. And I’m pretty sure they feel it. Because they respond with the same kind of affection and endearment. There’s hugs, kisses, open conversations, laughter, silliness, comfort and trust. Elements that foster a positive and healthy relationship between a parent and a child. It’s a straight-lane avenue, in my opinion. And despite the broken boulevard that I frequently stumbled down, I have constantly recognized the importance of maintaining a cleaner course for my kids. I’ve always known I didn’t want to repeat the detrimental cycle that existed between my grandmother and my mother and then myself and my mother. I saw what that was like. I lived it. And I loathed it. So I’ve done a pretty good job at steering adrift from that destruction.
And now I’m here, mothering my own daughter. The girl who tests my patience, knows how to scream and yell with steam and is all about the dramatics. But she’s the same girl who gives the very best hugs, has the sweetest voice and completely understands affection. She’s incredibly stubborn but also incredibly brilliant. She makes me cry but also makes me laugh. And she’s the girl who’s a sincere reflection of myself in just about every single facet of her personality and her charm. I find it remarkable to stare down into the eyes of someone who is half me….but yet almost all of me. It’s a beautiful blessing and a cringe-worthy curse. It’s DNA and karma at its finest. It’s life, love and lessons at their best. And it’s a special mother/daughter bond that I will always appreciate even in the absence of my own.