May 10, 2010
On being a daughter, a granddaughter and an Auntie
I was very fortunate that I got to see my mom, my Grammie, my sister (who's a mom) and my mom in-law all at different times last week. It's good to let them all know how important their jobs are!
And frankly, I don't know how they do it. I really don't. I am not a mom myself, nor do I plan to be, so I am in awe of this enormous task that moms have every single day. I am so lucky that my sister Jen and I are so close, because it's very important to me to be a good Auntie. But as invested as I am in those girls, my role is still not even close to what my sis has to do. And she does it SO well.
When I was born, my mom (whom I still call Mommy, thank you very much) was only 22, and only 23 when Jen was born (and then she was through). I can't fathom this. I remember me at 22 and I was nowhere near ready for motherhood. Hell, the thought scares me more now than it did back then! The fact that, for the rest of your life, you will be a mom? Wow. What other station in life can you say that about? Sure, I'll be a wife for as long as Brian's here on Earth, but that's different. We're a partnership and the dynamic is one of equals.
I will say that I got VERY lucky in the mom department! When we were growing up, she was the type of mom that was very interested in our days at school, but never smothered us. When we hit teendom, she didn't care how we looked or what we wore (neither one of us had a weight problem and we were very straitlaced, but she still wouldn't have said anything if we weren't). She never offered unsolicited advice, and she still doesn't. She's a wonderful listener and a very caring soul. "Our Mom" (as Jen and I call her) is just awesome and I'm so proud to call her "Mommy". :D
Which she probably inherited from my Grammie. Grammie will be 86 in August, and I feel so lucky to still have her here. She does have dementia, which manifests itself in different ways, but deep down she is still the same wonderful lady she's always been.
Grammie has been a huge part of my life since my birth. I am the firstborn, my mom was the firstborn, and my Grammie was also the firstborn, so there's a common bond there. Plus, my middle name is Mary, which is her name. She was Jen's and my music teacher when we were in grade school, and she is a huge reason that Jen and I are both musically inclined (her mom and her sisters, plus my mom's brothers, all have a music background). She married a not-so-nice man (my grandfather, whom I only saw a handful of times before he died last year) but they divorced when I was about 10 months old. So it was really only ever Grammie, which suited me fine (I never knew my dad's parents). We were doted on as little girls, and pretty spoiled, too, but only in a monetary sense; manners were EVERYTHING growing up!
When you put my mom and Gram together, you get one of the neatest mother-daughter relationships I've ever seen, and one that made a huge impact on me. My mom and Grammie talked ALL the time, but it was more as friends than as mother-daughter. They love the same things, like British mysteries and crossword puzzles, and even though my Grammie got very conservative later in life and my Mommy is a tree-hugging liberal, they were able to set aside those differences and not let them get in the way of their relationship. It may sound corny, but I wish every mother-daughter relationship could be like the ones that I currently have or see around me.
I know this will continue, too, because I see the relationships that Jen is cultivating with her girls. It does my heart so good to see the outpouring of love once again, just as in generations past. It's this kind of cycle that we should celebrate every Mother's Day.
(Photo of me, Mommy & Grammie taken at my cousin Sam's wedding in June of 1999)