Sometimes I pay a visit to my Drafts folder – I do not have many, and most are quotes – and surprise myself at things I’d written, but decide to leave unpublished. Why? I would think to myself; I can’t remember. Sometimes, like this one, I forget they exist. Retrieving it now is a pleasant surprise. I wrote this particular short piece on August 31 2015.
The relationship I have with my mother is unique, but also intricate. I love her to death, but that love also comes with inexplicable – at least not here – guilt. I come back to this every so often; I think it is one of my personal complexes – afraid I will turn out like my mother, yet always in awe of her character. I think writing about her is my way of unraveling our ties.
When one speaks of good character, my mother always comes to my mind.
I would think to myself, “My mother taught me many things about the value of a person.” For instance, “Never wrong anyone because while you can find and recoup money, people’s forgiveness can’t be bought” or “Keep your intentions pure; no matter what other people say, you know yourself what is in your heart and mind.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always grown up by her side. In and out of her many offices and different positions, car rides in between meetings and travel destinations and whatnot, yet she’s never once been anything other than Mother or Mum to me. No matter how high the professional ladder she has climbed in her 40-odd years as a career-woman, to me she is and has always been Mother. She isn’t always ‘there’ – but no matter how far back I recall, there’s never a time when she did not try to be. And that attempt, believe it, is most powerful.
My mother lives by her own adage “If you’re not dead, you’re not out.” Simple as that, she would sum up her life with that sentence coupled with a smile.
I’ve spent most of my late teens and twenties exploring the question, “What does it mean to be my mother’s daughter?” and each year I come out with a slightly different answer. Recently I realized that several of my closest friends are great people – genuinely kind souls with big hearts who value the good in this world – and it occurred to me that if who we are surrounded by speak of our character; maybe this means I’m not that bad a person after all – maybe there’s more goodness in me than I usually give myself credit for. But I stopped short; that line of thought is incomplete. I’m pausing to contemplate.
Let me begin again.
If anyone speaks of my good character, I hope their answer is in line with mine. Because it is simple, I would tell them. Just like her, I would sum up my life with one sentence and a smile. I’d say, “I am my mother’s daughter.”