"You have all the capabilities to be a great single mother"
"Well, I was raised by the best."
An actual exchange between my husband and I just before he went out of town for a couple of days for work. He never worries about how I'll handle motherhood on my own, and I think this is why. I've somehow gleaned all I need to know about motherhood by simply watching, remembering, embracing the things that my own mother did as we grew up. I didn't realize I was picking things up, becoming a shadow of who she was (is), until my own child came into the world and I became my mother.
People sometimes say "Oh no, I'm becoming my mother" as if it's a bad thing. As if the person that gave us life is someone to be feared. But I don't. I relish the fact that I find myself saying the same things she said to me. That I catch myself displaying the same mannerisms she does. That I've grown up to be a mini-me version of my mother.
It occurred to me recently that I am raising my son just as my mother raised me - even though I'm not doing it on my own. I'm strong and independent. I'm fun and free. I'm strict and firm. But most importantly, my son will never doubt how much I love him. Just as I never doubted my own mother's love for me.
As Henry is growing up and we're able to do more and more together, I can vividly picture moments in our tiny two bedroom apartment with my mom and my brother. I can hear the screams and laughter as we pounded our feet on the Nintendo Power Pad, running as fast as we could to try and make our guy go faster. I can picture my brothers grin as he climbed underneath pillows and up on top of chairs as we did our own Double Dare obstacle course. I can remember the pure exhilaration of throwing books off our bookshelves so that we could drive my Grandma nuts when she came over next. I can remember the feeling of swimming inside the apartment in our baby pool when it was raining outside, but we still wanted to swim.
At each of these memories, I can picture my mom, with her 80's styled bangs and definite shoulder pads. She wasn't concerned about the mess that we were making. She was concerned about the fun that we were having. Or at least, that's what I assume that her mile-wide grin meant.
And now as I watch her as a grandmother, as Henry wraps his little arms around her, I'm filled with pride. This is my mom. My mommy. She is who I aspire to be. She is the person whose opinion means the most. She's the one that I seek out when I need reassurance, or calming, or someone to complain to.
I'm proud of my mom. I'm proud of the way she raised my brother and I. I'm proud of her for doing it on her own.
Happy (early) Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there. All of you who are doing it on your own, or are doing it with a partner. Mothering is a hard job. The hardest. But you're doing it, and someday, your children will look up to you just as you look up to your mom.