Time, I suppose, will be the ultimate judge as to what kind of a mother I was, am, or will be. When my daughter was younger, if you’d asked her, I’m sure she would have told you that she loved me, that I was a good Mommy — one who sometimes allowed her ice cream for breakfast. She had much lower standards then.
Now? Now she mostly thinks I’m an idiot. Fortunately, I haven’t taken her current assessment of me as a mother (or as a person) to heart knowing, as I do, that it goes with the territory. She’s 18 now and, therefore, knows everything there is to know about just about everything. I remember those days, too. It was nice way back then when I thought I had all the answers. I’m certain that I thought my own mother was an idiot, too.
She wasn’t and neither am I. Still, it would be nice to get an “Atta Girl, Mom!” now and then. I’ll just have to be patient, though, as I’m sure that day will come. It will, no doubt, come somewhere down the line when she, herself, has to juggle motherhood with everything else that she’s got going on in her life. I hope that when that day comes she will appreciate how difficult motherhood is. I also hope she has made some better career choices than I did.
Ultimately, that’s the best any of us can shoot for, isn’t it? That our children (sons and daughters alike) make better life choices than we did. That they can manage to surpass not just our dreams for them, but also their own dreams for themselves. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but it’s what I want for my child. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, truth be told.
She’ll head off to college in the Fall. I want her to succeed. I want her to find her place in the world. I want her to find her passion. I just pray it’s not something crazy like dairy farming. The hours alone would be agonizing, not to mention the cow stink that she’d never get out of her hair. And, frankly, she can’t really pull off flannel.
She’s setting off for nursing school, but who knows if that will take. She’ll be in Vermont, so she could end up making cheese. Or working in the maple syrup industry. She might fall in love with a ski bum. Sure, they’re cute and cool when they’re young, but they don’t age well and are prone to joint diseases — joint diseases that will make milking cows on the dairy farm difficult, if not impossible. I wouldn’t want to see her trade in her scrubs for overalls, that’s all I’m saying.
Making cheese may sound glamorous, but I suspect it’s not. Ditto for tapping syrup.
I guess what I really want is for her to be independent, for her not to rely upon anyone else to make her way in the world. (This includes her parents!) I’ve mellowed over the years, become less protective of my child, but I’ll just say this: Ski bums, dairy farmers, cheese makers, and syrup tappers, BEWARE! I’m not above hunting you down and persuading you to stay away from my daughter. I’m from Jersey. Do I even need to tell you that if I can’t convince you, I know a guy? Capice?
Next year at this time I hope that I’m writing a post telling you how she came through her first year of college with flying colors, that she still wants to be a nurse, and that she hasn’t taken up with some granola-crunching vegan hipster whose best quality is that he can hacky-sack and chew gum at the same time.
If she hasn’t, if she’s become enamored of a less lucrative and less flexible course of study, if she’s found a hippy-dippy mandolin player who makes her happy, I hope that I can report that I’ve become the kind of mother, the kind of person, who can trust that I’ve raised someone who can and should make her own decisions — even if I don’t agree with them. (Because, really, I don’t want to have to call a guy, know what I mean?)
That’s MY goal for the year. See you next Mother’s Day!