My Mother's Daughter
There are many responses to the question, what are you? I am short; I am pretty. I am a student; I am a teacher. I am a sister; I am a grandmother. If you were to ask me that question, I would simply say: I am my mother’s daughter.
I have her hair, her face, her skin, her passion. I have her writing ability, although probably not to the same extent. All of this is mine, but I do not have her.
My mother died on April 21st, in 2007. I was naive and twelve years old that day. I had no idea about all of the pain I would have to come to accept as I walked into that hospital room. There had been rough times, as all children and their mothers have, but I now know that all of that was mainly due to medicine and stress. My mother was the only person in this world that truly saw who I was, and loved me more than anything despite my downfalls.
How does this describe who I am? I want to be a shorter replica of my mother. My ultimate hero in life, this person that was so small compared to the rest of the world, was the light in my life and my most loving nurturer. Thus, I am, or strive to be, who my mother was.
My mother was kind. Her kindness was so genuine and raw, so naive and beautiful, that I do not if I will ever reach her level in that aspect. She was loving, unendingly loving. And in return, everyone loved her, even though I do not believe that she saw this. Going to teachers’ retirement parties with her, I saw how everyone seemed to revolve around her utter grace and beauty. Her kindness and graciousness shown like a light. She was, quite literally, the sun that pulled everyone in and shown a light on them too. She was polite without fail, always gracious and considerate. She tried so very hard for me. Besides her diseases that I had no knowledge of, her age held her back from being one of the active, young mothers that I saw. I can see all of this now because hindsight is, indeed, always 20/20. I know so many more facets of my mother now than I did when she was alive.
Her unlimited kindness, even to those that she did not like, was one facet. Her sense of family and love for them is another. I saw this with how much she tried to show indifference to my grandmother, but how much she really just wanted approval. The week that my grandmother passed my mother cried and became like a small girl again, the loss hitting her hard. The way that she spoke of her father, my grandfather that died before I could know him, was like she was talking about the world’s greatest hero. Her kindness came from him, I am sure of this. Her most acclaimed facet was her teaching. I saw this in letters that her students sent her, thanking her for her guidance and wonderful presence. Her sweetest facet was her love for my father. I saw this when they would kiss or hug in the kitchen, and I see it now in the few photographs that I have of her. Her facet that I like to think I have inherited was the kindness and love she had with her friends. She knew the real from the fake, and each one could truly see how wonderful she was. She was the voice of reason, and she always knew when they should stick up for themselves, and she was very protective. I like to think that I follow this path with her help in my friendships. My favorite facet was her love for me. I can see it now in her eyes; hear it in her voice, how much she tried and how much she loved me. She tried to live for me, and I see that now. She taught me everything that I would have to know if she was to leave, and for that I am grateful. She hid things from me, and while sometimes I wish that I had known, I know that it was her care for others that kept her from telling. She wanted to break down, but she did not want me to see her lose her strength, and she did not want me to be afraid.
I am not afraid. My mother taught me this. She taught me more valuable lessons than she probably knows. She taught me to be kind, polite, and a good person to everyone. She taught me to look people in the eye when I spoke to them. She taught me to always hold my head up high, and to have self-respect and to never lose it. She taught me that I am beautiful, and that I should not settle for something that I do not want. She taught me how to love, and how to see how hard others try, and how to try hard for them in return. She taught me that you do not get things handed to you in life, and that you have to chase after your dreams if you ever want to reach them. She taught me how to be strong, how to look pain in the face but still be happy. My mother is still teaching me things, everyday. I feel closer to my mother than to anyone that is living on this earth. I have a strong connection with her, and I try to let her guide me like she would if she were still here. I miss her more with each day, but I try to live for her, and to bring her life back to this world for others to see.
Most importantly, my mother taught me to never give up hope. The one thing that she said to me that I will never, ever forget was this: “Never give up hope, because when that’s gone, you have nothing left”. I will never give up hope, and I will never give up my mother.
So you ask me, what am I? I am simply this: my mother’s daughter.