“I’m turning into my mother!” my friend exclaimed, a few weeks ago on one of our long Sunday runs. She had just been talking about something she’d said to her son. We laughed and rolled our eyes in unison. Our mothers come up a lot during these run. It seems we are both actively turning into them.
A few mornings later, I was out early watering plants before I left for the day. As I dragged the hose around the garden I was conscious of the silence, the calm, the sense of peace. My children were asleep, and there’s nothing wrong yet. Everything was as it should be. I was at one with my yard, my planet. But then I realized we were not alone, Mother Nature and I. There was another mother present, my own. I remembered her doing this when I was a child, being up, out in the garden and back in again before my brothers, sister and I ever woke.
As I stood in the soft loam and dewy grass, I realized that I have indeed become my mother. It wasn’t just this gardening piece, it was other things….big things like my need for order, my desire to make things right. It was little things, like planning and making lists and even the running, which she too, took up later in life.
What is it about becoming our mothers that makes us roll our eyes? Even though I’ve long since shed my awkward teenage years, when for example, my mother had routinely been right in pointing out that the outfit I’d selected was going to turn out to be inappropriate, she still, to this day, has the power to reduce me to uncertainty with just a look. And she still OFTEN knows what is best for me.
Standing there in my yard, it hit me hard that becoming my mother was actually a blessing. I have been fortunate to have her by my side, even when at a distance, for 45 years. I have incorporated her wisdom, her habits, her quirks, her loves – even her dislikes—into the fabric of my own being. I could suddenly see from this vantage point that my mother’s life has been a trail of trinkets, dropped along the path for me to gather, and if I could, keep.
Someday my mother will be gone, which scares me because I think I will not, possibly, be able to function without her physical presence in my life. And yet, I realized that she cannot ever leave me completely because she is now a part of me. I am becoming my mother and I will never again roll my eyes when that thought comes to me. Because I know now that this what will keep me from coming apart at the seams when she is no longer able to walk through the garden with me.
--Diane Farineau is a writer living in Charlottesville
- ▼ May (3)