I was always nervous about having a little girl. My mother and I are not the Gilmore girls. As much as we love each other, we are not best friends who talk every other minute. We have always been very different women.
As a teenager, I loved to shop, experiment with make-up and do aerobics. My mother loved to meditate, read and ride horses. I like to follow style trends, television and pop culture. My mother only watches PBS and considers herself a Buddhist. She spent this past weekend listening to the Dali Lama. As you probably know, I’m more apt to listen to Justin Timberlake. I am a stickler for neatness and details. My mother is far stronger at seeing the big picture.
I respect and admire my mother enormously. I can easily say that I have never known a kinder, more sensitive and more compassionate individual. But we are, at our core, very different souls. It has been challenging at times to find a place in the middle to connect. It can be sad but it’s true. So I was worried about having a daughter and finding a way to connect with her. So, of course, I ended up with two. And I’m glad I did. Just this past week, I had an experience with my 3 year-old Dylan that helped ease my anxiety enormously.
My mother stopped by my apartment after the Dali Lama. I asked her to watch the girls so I could run out and get a much needed pedicure. Chipped toenails make me crazy (see, it’s always the details for me). But Dylan wanted to come. I’m so glad I said “yes.” She, in her pink sweater and tutu, sat in my lap during the pedicure and we read People magazine. She is shocked about Britany’s behavior. No, we actually read “Curious George” and “Pinkalicious.” After the pedicure, Dylan picked out a polish and they painted her nails too. The experience just felt so girly, so sweet and so lovely. I thought, “I can definitely do this girl thing.”
My mother and I will keep on working to find a place in the middle to connect. It’s not always easy but it is always worth the effort when we find it. On my mother’s answering machine at home, her outgoing message ends with, “smile, breathe and don’t forget you’re loved.” I can guarantee you this warm (yet a bit unusual) sentiment will never be on my voice mail message. It’s just not my thing. But I take the words seriously. And in a different way, in a different style, I will send the same message to my girls. So to my mother Susan, thank you for your words and thank you for meeting me in the middle.