My mother is a fighter. She would never dream of telling anybody that. No, she would tell you that this life brought her babies to her and she wouldn’t trade any of it. Being a parent now, myself, I know that her words are true. Her story isn’t mine to tell, but three things that she taught me will stay with me forever.
1) Make mistakes. My mom has never shied away from the realities of life. She never glossed over her own mistakes, but she taught me that life is every bit about how you learn from them. It never mattered how young or old we were, my mom was always willing to let us make choices. Which occasionally meant making the wrong ones. I will do the same for my daughter. Even if I could snap my fingers and shield her from any pain in this life, I wouldn’t. All of us have to learn to grow as human beings. I want her to reach her full potential, and I will let her make her own mistakes, like my mom did with me. Mistakes refine you, not define you.
2) Read books. My mom is an avid reader. That is probably one of her biggest passions. When my siblings and I outgrew children’s books, she took to reading us a chapter in a novel every night. The first one I can remember her reading to us is “Where The Red Fern Grows.” A few books down the line, I remember going to sleep desperate to know what happened next in the story. I spent all of the next day worrying about how to ask my mom if I could finish the rest on my own. I wanted to read more than one chapter each night. And thus, I inherited the reading-bug.
This was a life-changing path for me. I cannot begin to count the amount of books I have read since that day. My mom and I will often take turns reading the same books. Then, we’ll talk for days about them after we’ve both finished. Each book that I read brings new thoughts, different perspectives, and adds more to who I am. They all show me more about who I want to be. Books immersed me completely in empathy and made me a peacekeeper. While I hope my daughter isn’t quite as introverted as I am, I want for her to have that ability to see the world through other people’s eyes. I hope to one day show her what that means to me.
3) Communication. I cannot remember a single time in my life where my mom and I were in any sort of fight or disagreement. I’m told that I kept my distance for a few days when my little brother was born, but I don’t remember that. I’ve since apologized for that profusely. She always laughs and assures me that I don’t need to apologize for something that I did when I was two. Aside from that, my mom and I have always been equal parts family and friends.
She always made sure that we knew that it was okay to be upset. It was always okay to be angry. However, communicating those emotions in a healthy was just as important as why we felt them in the first place. We have such a strong relationship because we are always honest in our feelings. We handle them without pride preventing us from doing so. I want my child to learn from me that conflicts are solved when each person understands the view of the person they are upset with. She will learn from me that disagreements are not always fights. Feeling a certain way does not mean you have to close yourself off from hearing someone else’s thoughts and feelings. Two people can disagree and they can both be right. Communication really is key to understanding.
My biggest wish for my daughter, is for her to be the type of person that can see many shades of gray in a black and white world. Life offers infinite perspectives, and they are all equally important. I will do everything in my power to guide my own child to this knowledge as my mom did with me. I could not have hand picked a better mother or daughter, and it is truly a blessing to forever be the link between them.