You said it a few times by now and each time you have said it in anger. “You are just like your mother”. I’m not quiet sure as to why you say it or if it’s a low blow you are trying to deliver. Maybe it’s just a statement, an opinion, something that doesn’t come with good intentions. I wonder if it truly needs to be spoken, as it’s context conveyed is meant to be hurtful. I fail to see your reasoning, nor am I trying to figure it out. All I know is that it’s no compliment towards me or my mother and I feel a change inside of me rising when you bring it up. A switch that turns to protection of my mother as I feel that she has bestowed nothing but kindness upon you. I know there have been many times that you have seen me struggle through some issues with my mother and perhaps it is the reason as to why your perception of her has shifted. Maybe it is different for an outsider, somebody not related through blood, but even that I can’t justify and excuse because you have experienced some of the same with your own family.
As far as my mother is concerned, I’m not sure if we struggled after the death of my father. She provided me with everything that I needed and while I’m sure that there must have been tough times, I was too young to understand and notice. I might have never seen or recognized the signs that were there and I dismissed them with young, innocent and ignorant bliss. There was nothing to notice for me at that age, she did a great job of keeping it all away from me and nothing was obvious or appeared out of the ordinary. For the most part anyways, besides missing my father every day. She had to be a strong woman, raising me by herself and finishing the construction / remodel on our house that was only half finished through her own power. She never gained the respect a man would have had dealing with the handy workers of various traits, but she learned to become tough which also caused her to lock her feelings away in order to display this strong front. Even towards me she kept her wall up, towards her own flesh and blood. I knew she cared about me and loved me, I always knew, she just never said it to me and I missed the affection I had come to know and love from my father.
I don’t know if my mother changed or if it was me realizing how important it was to convey feelings. My father taught me in his absence that we can never take anything for granted because we might never get a second chance. And so it was that while my heart and my feelings opened during this Rhapsody (an effusively, enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feelings), it was the opposite for my mother and her feelings and her heart hardened during that same time. Yes, she choose to be by herself for all the years that followed my fathers death and she never remarried. Sometimes I think that it is only me who can understand her reasonings behind the unspoken words. She doesn’t have to say anything and still I already know that my father was her soulmate, he was the one and only for her. A play of words that couldn’t find a better example as describing the love that lived between my parents.
I never realized how much it impacted my mother that I left her and my country to come to America. How could I, we never talked about feelings in any way or form. By now you could say, she had become an expert at hiding her emotions, with a poker face that left no clues. Over the years she became bitter that I left her behind and we drifted apart. We almost became estranged and for many years I felt that we knew each other as people, but not as family and definitely not like mother and daughter. She held a stubborn grudge, unable to forgive me and it didn’t matter how successful I had been in my second country of home, all there was, was that I had left her. Going home to visit was not always an easy thing as the first week was wasted and filled with the tension of her despising the decisions I had made. It took me over twenty years of trying to rebuild a relationship between us and thank god for that it finally happened. I nearly gave up a few times and so I understand when you remember that side of me, the frustration through it all, but you forget the internal struggle to continue the fight for her love and acceptance. It took many arguments and heartaches to finally break through to her, to finally give her something she could agree on and be proud of. It was nothing short of a miracle to have her back.
And finally she allowed me to see a few glimpses of the mother that I knew as a child. I saw her laugh again and have great fun, do spontaneous, silly things and just live a little. An inner child that was locked away for many years because of the extreme difficulty and the seriousness of events that had transpired. I could never hold anything like that against her and my heart was always aching for the tough life she had to endure. Many might not understand her, but it is me who does and who imposes the question to imagine how your life would have turned out if you had lost your soulmate at such an early age? What would you have done, or would have to do to survive? Chances are none of us can answer this and we don’t know how strong we truly are until having to be strong is all there is left. I think she did just fine and even though I know that at some point I let her down in a big way by leaving her behind, I am the work of labor and love that comes from my parents. She sacrificed much for me and I can never thank her enough for helping me turn out alright.
So when you say that I am just like my mother, I know it is in comparison that I hold on to the past, that I hold a grudge or that I can’t forgive. I might even agree with a few things that could fall into a statement like this, for we both had to be strong women and life didn’t always made it easy for us. And yet you won’t hear me complaining because life had a plan for me all along and has made me into the person I was always meant to be. I will always be my mothers daughter and just maybe I was meant to be “Just like my mother” and I take that as a compliment.