Moving back home, while totally humbling and slightly embarrassing (even if it is just temporary), does have its perks. I get to spend tons more time with my mom, who is inadvertently teaching me about nearly all aspects of life daily through her words, actions, and general attitude. She is and always has been a Super Woman. A wonderful mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, woman.
Her success as a mother (the part to which I can attest the most) of three now-generally-productive-adult members of society has been astounding, especially since she did it with limited support, financially and otherwise. On her worst days, she was a world-class personal chef, maid, chauffeur, alarm clock, accountant, ATM, party planner, therapist, and cheerleader. Really, she could teach a class on this stuff.
In fact, my mom was and continues to be so good at what she does that I’m afraid I am bound to fall short of her awesomeness. I suppose anyone can learn to cook and clean. (God knows I never had to because she always did those things for me.) But her innate abilities to fulfill all of her responsibilities and then some without complaint and to nurture her relationships with the people she loves, two jobs that often require intense effort, overwhelm me when I ponder how she does it all.
My mother’s wisdom and grace are, above all else, her two most attractive qualities. I doubt my mom enjoyed cooking for and then cleaning up after a large (and often oblivious and ungrateful) family, waking up early on the weekends just to sit in the parking lot waiting for our sports practices to end, or spending her very-limited income responsibly while still providing us with everything we needed and wanted. But she never complained or let us know that she could use a break.
I’m sure my mom probably would have rather spent her free time sipping a glass of wine in a bubble bath, getting massages and pedicures, or shopping for new clothes. And she deserves to be doing all of those things, especially now that all of her children are grown and out of the house. But instead, she offered to take in her adult daughter and toddling grandson so that they could create a better life for themselves.
I can only hope that one day, I will be half as good a mother to Joshua as my mom has been to my sister, my brother, and me. But it’s going to take quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears in order for me to get there. That’s where my goals for this year come in to play. I intend to use them as a sort of road map to lead me to becoming the kind of mother and example that Josh deserves, as well as the kind of daughter my mom deserves.
They say that it is unhealthy to compare oneself to others. I disagree. It is unhealthy to envy others, and to focus on how one is in negative contrast to them. It is healthy to identify the qualities that others possess that we would like to develop, and then emulate the thought processes, words, and actions that bring about the manifestation of those qualities. (I wonder how many social psychologists would scoff at the statement I just made?!)
So in an attempt to avoid defeatist, negative self-talk (the self-fulfilling prophecy, I think?), I’ll elaborate only as far as to say that I could be a better testament to my mother’s efforts and accomplishments. The silver lining is that, from here, I have nowhere to go but up.
At the risk of sounding like I’m making a dramatic acceptance speech at an awards ceremony… Here’s to my mom, from whom I am learning so much each day, and to whom I owe credit for many of my past and future successes. And here’s to the substantial remainder of 2012, which I intend to use by making her proud.