The mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one. Mothers represent our first encounter with womanhood, but also our first rejection of it. For years, I told myself that I was nothing like my mother, firm in my belief that the only similarities between us were our genetics. I’m not sure when it began (truth be told, it was probably always there), but I am becoming my mother. And for the first time in my life, I’m embracing it.
Growing up, I always considered myself more of a daddy’s girl. I was the only one of his kids who shared his love of sports and sense of humour, and I guess I had that whole first-born thing going for me. It’s not that I wasn’t close to my mom, though—I feel very blessed to have had the wonderful childhood I did, and to have parents that are still together after 27 years of marriage. I’ve looked up to my mom my whole life, but for a good chunk of that time, I was afraid to admit it.
For all the changing I did during my teenage years—in my mind, body, and every aspect of my personality—I spent just as much time, if not more, rejecting the one person closest to me who been through it all before. In the back of my mind, I knew my mom was the ultimate resource for my venture into womanhood, but my adolescent self was too stubborn to admit it. I shudder when I think of how I would knock over chairs and scream at her just because she was concerned for my well-being. Or how the day I got my period for the first time, she was so eager to explain menstruation to me, but I told her I already knew everything and subsequently locked myself in the bathroom while trying to figure out how a pad worked.
I remember spending hours looking through her high school yearbooks from the ’70s, trying to grasp the fact that my mom was once a 16-year-old girl. They were filled with notes from friends about skipping class, with the words “hunk” and “babe” written beside the class portraits of the boys she had crushes on. The funny thing was, she was exactly the kind of girl I was envious of in high school: pretty, popular, and always dating older guys. But maybe that’s why I pushed her away.
Today, our relationship is nothing like it was during those years (thank goodness). I am no longer a stubborn teenage girl, but a 25-year-old who has embraced her own womanhood and has a newfound respect for the person who brought her into this world. I enjoy sharing details of my life with my mom and actively seek her advice because, hey, the woman has 27 years on me and knows far more about the way things work in this world than I do. I understand why she wants her living space to be clean, and why nothing is worse than a sink filled with dirty dishes, and the importance of stocking up on groceries. We share interests and mannerisms, and sometimes I’ll get off the phone with her and think to myself, “We are so much alike.” Like mother, like daughter, right?