I love being a mother. I always have. It's a role I feel completely comfortable in. Even when I wasn't a mother, mothering other people's children was second nature to me. It feels like something I was born to do.
Being a daughter has always been a bit trickier. I don't feel like I've ever really found my footing. I don't know how to explain it other than once I got old enough to take care of myself, I couldn't quite figure out how to act or talk or be around my parents anymore. Like I was trying to fit into a role that felt completely unnatural to me.
As I've grown older and become more comfortable in my skin, it's gotten a bit better. Less awkward, I guess. But I'm afraid it's maybe too little, too late.
My mom doesn't know me anymore. Perhaps she never really did. But it's different now. She doesn't know I'm her daughter, or even that she has a daughter. The name Maggie is as foreign to her as if she were speaking Swahili. To hear her say my name like she's not sure how to pronounce it is really hard. How could she not know me...
This is heartbreaking. Especially on a day like Mother's Day. But the part I'm most sad about is that we didn't know each other better when we had the chance. Not just each other's names or faces, but the real stuff. Our hopes and dreams, fears and regrets. What did my mom have to teach that I never got to learn? What could I have given her if I'd been more comfortable opening up?
My sister and I just spent a long time on the phone talking about all the stuff neither of us really talks to anyone else about. The stuff most people wouldn't understand. I'm so lucky to have her. Even though by the time we hung up I felt like the rest of this post had been completely hijacked. "Moose, how am I supposed to finish writing about how sad I am not to have a mom now that I'm laughing?" It's the risk I take starting a post in the morning and then trying to finish it after a few mimosas and a long talk with my sister.
What I wanted to say before I got it all out of my system is that I wish I'd tried harder to know my mom when I had the chance. But now I know I did my best. Not that I'm giving up. I mean, who knows? The best may be yet to come. Maybe if I step away for a minute, talk to my sister and have a few mimosas, I'll get another surprise ending.
Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers and daughters and fathers and sons. Give each other a great big squeeze and be open to whatever may come next.