Mothers and Daughters, and the Salad Ban

Mothers and Daughters, and the Salad Ban

I spent every Sunday of my childhood sitting next to my mother on the wooden pews in my father’s church singing hymns acapella.

My mother sang alto, and very well.  I listened to her and sang alto, not as well.  I later learned my voice was more suited to the soprano part – the melody-  but I stilled preferred to sing sitting next to her.

There is nothing closer than the mother-child bond, after all, we used to share a body.  But the process of our separation is a road that winds and turns – we use great acceleration for independence and control, and then double back for the closeness and security, as we learn about each other and our bond evolves.

We learn to embrace some of her values as our own, while others we abandon with glee:

  • “I will never eat another salad.” 
  • ” I will enjoy an Entire piece of gum (not just a half).”

But this winding road can lead to a truly special destination – an actual relationship.

My mother and I are very different people.  I’ve been a single mom most of my life.  She’s been married more than 60 years and the strengths and talents we have acquired reflect our footings:

  • She scores higher on empathy and compassion. I am more likely to come up with a plan of action and carry it through to completion.
  • She enjoys cooking. I enjoy having cooked.
  • I love fishing and riding horses. She prefers to experience the outdoors from the porch in a comfy chair, sans animal hair.
  • Her love language is words of affirmation – “Let’s talk about what really matters.”  And mine is acts of service –  “Can you paint while we talk?”

But we are both easily moved to tears by the sweetness of life and its beauty.

She is one of my favorite people to laugh with.

And she has supported my teaching, even when it was on a stage in front of men- something not all of her friends would agree is appropriate.

There have been things we disagree on and we have chafed against each other in the middle of our closeness, but we have learned to talk  while holding the other’s heart safe, and the relationship as the highest priority. 

Being close without having to be the same. Supporting each other and our differences as well as our similarities.

Because if I see value only in my strengths then I lose out on benefiting from her gifts.

And I want to sit next to her and hear her sing.

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