Every girl and her mom need to have a mushy, emotional, heartfelt conversation once in a while. You know, the kind that induces tears — good tears — from one (and then both) of you.
I’m certain my husband’s conversations with his dad never end in choked words and teary eyes. Not that I need firsthand evidence to know that mushy conversations are a girl thing; but really, the older I get — and the further down the road of motherhood I walk — the more I appreciate the distinct qualities of a mother-daughter relationship… gushy words and all.
It’s just the way God made us. We need to feel. We need to share. We need to be understood. And we need to know that somebody else knows exactly where we’re at. As daughters mature into moms themselves, the mother-daughter relationship is brought to a new and beautiful dynamic. The mother still loves her grown daughter as much as she ever did; the grown daughter still needs her mom’s love and support, maybe more than she ever did; and a growing understanding and appreciation undergirds it all.
I have to wonder if it isn’t every mom who fears — or at least thinks about — the possibility that she is screwing up her kid’s life. And I wonder if, as the years pass and my own kids grow, I will find myself wondering if I could have done better.
No mom is perfect, to be sure, for no human is perfect. My mom isn’t perfect, and our relationship isn’t perfect. But do I think my mom did a great job as Mom? Absolutely. And she continues to.
The one thing I appreciate most about my mom is this: her loving support both throughout my childhood and now along my own journey of motherhood.
My mom may have done some things in raising my sister and me that she regretted or questioned later (Don’t all moms do that?); but she needs to know that in this, the showing and offering of her loving support, she has never failed.
As I chatted with my mom on the phone the other day, I interjected as we prepared to hang up. “Mom, I just want to say thank you for your support. You have always been supportive of what I — or Travis and I — have chosen to do. You have always made me feel (enter choking and tears) like I can do anything I want to do — like you’ve never doubted me — and I’ve always known that you have my back. I appreciate that. So… thank you.”
My mom… she started to cry. She said, “Thank you for telling me that about me. I didn’t get that when I was growing up, so I’m glad to know I didn’t pass that on.”
I sensed a mingling of pain and relief in her tears. Pain bred by years of feeling inadequate, and relief in having an affirmation her soul so desperately needed to hear. An affirmation that she IS a good mom. That she HAS done well.
As a mom myself, I can’t imagine a greater reward than to one day have my grown children tell me that I am a good mom. That I did well. I think of the Proverbs 31 woman whose children rise up and bless her. My mom has done well, and I need her to know that. Because I’m a mom, too. My level of understanding is deepening, and with it, my appreciation.
And so we cried. Good, healthy, heartfelt tears. Because she didn’t mess up my life; and because although she had to have known that, she needed to hear it anyway.