My mother died a few weeks after I had my first child. This unfair turn of fate was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Learning to live in the world without her was incredibly difficult.
An unexpected discovery of a zip-lock bag of letters, mostly written to me by my mother, from the first summer I went to camp at age nine until I graduated from college, changed everything. Twenty years after her death, when I reread these letters, I had the feeling I was having a conversation with her. I could feel her personality, "hear" her voice and get a dose of her relevant and contemporary wisdom.
Dara Kurtz and daughters
Since that experience, I have thought a lot about the mother-daughter relationship, the different seasons and the changes over time.
As the mother of two daughters, Zoe (20) and Avi (17). I've seen our relationships go through ups and downs, as my relationship with my mother has changed over the years.
When I was in high school and living at home, my mother and I would often argue about insignificant things. There were times when I felt like she was getting in my way and preventing me from doing what I wanted to do. I know my daughters felt the same way.
After I went to college, my relationship with my mother changed. She was still my mother and mothered me and there were topics I would only tell my friends, but our relationship turned into a lovely friendship.
We didn't live together and that actually helped us get closer. She didn't nag me about "bringing my things upstairs" or "cleaning my room". Instead, my mother became a trusted friend I could turn to, and I knew she always had my best interests in her heart.
She didn't tell me what to do, but her opinion was very important to me. Sometimes she would turn to me for my opinion on a particular subject and I was more than happy to share my thoughts.
When I graduated from college we became best friends. This would likely have continued as we both got older.
When I was younger my mom was my mom, not my girlfriend, and I tried to remember when I became a mom. I knew my daughters didn't need another friend. They had a lot of them. Instead, they needed a mother.
I had to raise her at different times of the year in her life, difficult as it was sometimes. There were times when I felt the burden of that responsibility and knew the implications of my choices. As my daughters grow and mature, I imagine that our relationships are more likely to become loving friendships. I can start to see this a little, and it's something I appreciate. Spending time together will always be a priority for me and I hope for her.
The relationship between mother and daughter is precious and sacred, and one that I cherish with all my heart. But that doesn't mean it's perfect or that there aren't any ups and downs. Like most things in life, there are different seasons and challenges along the way.
It takes patience, respect, kindness and work to develop and maintain the relationship between mother and daughter. Keep this in mind as you navigate your own relationship.
I am my mother's daughter, just like Zoe and Avi are my daughters and my mother's granddaughters, even though they never met. We are forever connected, one woman with another, one generation with the next. Our place in our family history is shaped by the love we share, how we treat one another, what we pass on to future generations, and the lens of love through which we see.
Not a day goes by without thinking of my mother and I will always miss her. The pain subsided as I learned to focus on the positive. If I feel I need an extra dose of her wisdom, or if I miss her particularly, I can reread one of the letters and feel closer to her.
I know that she is with me forever, wrapping me in her love, whispering advice and watching over me. I hear their words and their laughter. I remember her smile and the way she held my hand. She taught me to love and most of all, showed me how to be a mother.
You might also like to read:
The book Grown and Flown is now available in paperback! The Essential Guide to Grooming Tweens and Teens to Be Independent Adults.
We decided to be friends with our children
Sathamanam Bhavathi Full Movie starring Sharwanand, Anupama Parameswaran Film Name : Shatamanam Bhavati Banner : Sri ...Read more
You’ve got to try this easy shepherd’s pie! This best shepherd’s pie recipe is jammed pack with nutritious, yummy, and satisfying ingredients...Read more
I long dreamed of opening a restaurant, but life is complicated. I decided to start small, to try to make...Read more
How do you balance a high-powered journalism career that takes you all over the globe, with family life with children...Read more