Today is my mother’s birthday. She’s been dead for 17 years.
In just over a month, you can make that 18 years. Those of you who know my story know that my mother was only 65 years old when she died. She weighed over 300 pounds. I was 5 months pregnant. My mother’s death was the event that inspired my career shift.
The fact that my mother’s birthday and (her deathday?) the anniversary of her death come so close together means my mother is in my thoughts a lot during the holidays. I miss her. And I don’t. I miss her because she was my mom. My mom. I don’t miss her because we didn’t get along very well towards the end of her life. In many ways, my life is richer because she’s not here. I feel heretical writing that. I hope you understand.
A number of years ago I was asked to write about my mother for the website Legacy.com. I wrote a piece titled Lessons From My Mother. In it I described my relationship with my mother, how through my grief I was able to see so many things about my mother that I had missed because of “the fight.” Like her generosity. I also wrote about how my mother gave me my career.
This year, I’m thinking about my daughter.
My daughter is 16. She is a junior in High School. She spending the year in France. I’ve kind of “lost” her. She’s growing (grown?) up. We speak only about once a week. She has a French mom. Yes, another mom gets to hear about my daughter’s day, every day. This mom gets to give my daughter cookies. Do I sound jealous? I am, at least a little. But I love this mom for taking care of my daughter so well, so lovingly. I love her fiercely in fact.
I miss my daughter. And I don’t. I miss her because she’s my daughter. I don’t miss her because, although we get along GREAT, in some —only some!— ways my life is richer because she’s not here. If I felt heretical writing that statement about my mother, imagine how scared/bad/wrong I feel writing that about my daughter. I hope you understand.
When my daughter was little, whenever we were going to be separated for any amount of time, I would say something to her like, “You’re going away with Daddy for a couple of days. You’re going to miss me and I’m going to miss you. But you know what? You’re going to do some fun things and I’m going to do some fun things. We’re going to have such a good time telling each other about our adventures when you get home.” I still stand by this.
And you know what? As we drove our daughter to the airport for her journey to France, she said, “You know what Mom? I’m going to miss you, and you’re going to miss me. But we’re each going to have some good adventures …”
Mothers and Daughters have a special thing going.
I hear about mothers and daughters all the time from women who work with me on their daughter’s eating. I kvell when I think about my daughter. When these mothers talk about their daughters, I hear their kvelling too. This bond, this beauty. It brings me to an awareness of my mother’s kvelling about me. (I’m tempted to make a snarky remark here, but I won’t. I guess I’m not totally over the fight.)
It’s my custom to tie all my blog posts to food and feeding, and to present them in a way that offers some insights about the feeding dynamic. I’ve been scratching my head over how to give this post a profound, insight-bearing conclusion. But this is all I’ve got:
Mothering, nurturing, nourishing. It’s all tied together. And it’s a great gift.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~
P. S. I’m sure this happens with sons too, but is it different? I assume, though, I don’t know.