At 43 years old, well into my career, and with plenty of life experience under my belt, it never ceases to amaze me how much I still rely on the guidance, emotional support, and motivation from my mother. My mother and I live 4,264 miles apart and have for over 20 years, however, the connection and closeness we have with one another knows no physical distance.
She is a caregiver, nurturer, disciplinarian, advisor, and self-proclaimed “not a doctor in real life, but I play one in your life!” Beyond these attributes, I consider her my best friend. I absolutely love all her unique ways and idiosyncrasies. Growing up, I was that daughter who wanted a unique identity and thought I would be nothing like my mom.
As I have grown and matured, it is surreal to hear her voice when I speak and her laughter when I laugh. I have a number of mannerisms that mirror hers regardless of the two decades we have lived apart.
As real friends do, she has been there through many a challenging and oftentimes emotionally and spiritually life-altering experiences. From heartaches to health challenges, relocations to job losses, she has been there…helping me mend all the seemingly broken pieces back together.
All life and living creatures big and small get sunshine and the rain. As in nature, my mother and I have made it through times of joy (sunshine) and other more unpleasant mother-daughter periods (rain). Starting with my own self-discovery and the chapter of my life where we struggled through me opening up and coming to terms with my sexuality. It was hard. Very hard. An extremely complicated period for her, but through that period she did not stop loving me. She continued to demonstrate and show love through her own pain and reconciliation of what this realization meant for me and potentially for the life she envisioned for me.
Fast forward many years later, watching my mother assume the role of caregiver to her own aging mother in declining health. She ultimately lost her mother in 2013. From that experience I know, a woman bearing witness to her mother burying her own mother is a sobering experience and one you can never forget. The sadness fades but the memory stays with you in a place deep inside.
Through it all, I am grateful that our relationship continues to evolve. As my mother and I grow and learn more about ourselves as individuals and in relation to each other, we grow wiser and closer in that process of discovery. I feel gratitude and joy in knowing God selected her for me and me her. Mother’s day is every day we choose to cherish those who gave us life.