Think about mother and daughter relationships. There’s no relationship more beautiful, meaningful and complicated. It’s woven of time, love, hate, admiration, dependence, resentment, tears, disgust, distrust, learning, forgetting, forgiving, pain, laughter, softness, faith, edges and glitter and agonizing freedom. No matter how different they grow to be or how far apart they move, nothing can fully sever the bond that is born when a mother risks her own life to give new life to a daughter.
At least that’s what I’ve been thinking lately. This week as Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher were laid to rest; I found it fascinating that Debbie said, “I live right in front of my daughter.” She was talking about logistics, but the statement took on deeper meaning for me. We mothers live “right in front” of our daughters and our daughters see right through us. They know us in a way no one else can.
In our family we’re excited to welcome granddaughter #5. It the same time frame I’m helping move my firstborn far, far away. She’s taking two of my granddaughters with her. I can’t even type these words for the tears that drip down my cheeks and splash my keyboard.
But distance, I’ve learned, doesn’t diminish love. It solidifies it.
Last night I had dinner with my friend, Jane, and her mother, Elsa. Beautiful women, beautiful relationship. It was fun watching them laugh, finish each other’s sentences, and chat about people in their shared circle. Mostly, it intrigued me how they built each other up without even knowing they were doing it. A smile. A kind word. Which one would jump up to refill the water glasses first. It was love in motion. Years ago, the two of them used to run 5k’s together. Imagine having your Mom as your running partner. Should we all be so fortunate.
I realize that every mother/daughter relationship isn’t founded on love. That makes me so sad because every little girl needs the love of a mother so she knows how to mother.
I came home wishing I’d been a better mother. I wish I’d known thirty years ago what I know now. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t wish that I’d been given more time with my own mother. She died when I was 12, but addiction took her from me long before that. I grew up with loads of foster mothers. Not the same.
So I’ve been awake all night thinking about mothers and daughters and I came up with 3 essential truths mothers (or grandmothers or fathers for that matter) should instill in their “little girls.”
- SET OUR OWN VALUE. Don’t let the world slap a price tag on any part of you. By your existence alone, your worth is infinite. God didn’t make a duplicate you. There’s only one…that makes you priceless, so treat yourself according to that truth.
- GLASS CEILINGS ARE TRANSPARENT. 2016 was going to be the year when a woman shattered the glass ceiling and became POTUS. It didn’t happen and a lot of hearts got shattered instead. Hope is not dead, dear daughter. Hope lives within you. And as for that glass ceiling, it’s transparent, so don’t focus on the ceiling…focus on the stars you can see through it. You’re literally made of stardust, so aim for the stars, not the ceiling. Don’t let life limit you. Don’t limit yourself.
- TWO THINGS MATTER MOST. While you’re living a grand adventure, remember that only two things last beyond this life: the wisdom you gain and the relationships you forge. While all the other things you acquire and accumulate are nice, they don’t last. They’ll turn back to dust just like your body will. But your spirit? It’s eternal and will continue on in unimaginable ways, keeping your wisdom and your relationships. So learn all you can, love all you can.
Please share this list and make your own list. If there’s something wedged between you and your daughter, or you and your mom, I hope you’ll find a way to dislodge it, so you can carry on with the business of love.
(The picture is of little Adelaide being well…herself. And that’s all any mother can hope for…to raise her daughter to be the best version of who she was born to be.)