Before my Mother was My Mother

We are born selfish creatures straight out of the womb. It’s hard to imagine that the world does not revolve around us, our needs and our wants in life. At least for me. Let’s be honest.

It literally takes a paradigm shift — a huge change in our thinking to see a new way — in order to mentally get out of our own lives, to courageously step outside the zone from which we find comfort and to intentionally gaze at someone’s life who usually exists in our margins.

The older I get, the more I try to train myself to view others at the foreground. Some call it altruism. Others call it empathy. All people would describe it as compassion. And very few people would ever say it’s foolish.

As my relationship with my mom grows as adults nearly three decades apart, I start to see similarities between us that I never saw as a teenager (because teen angst 24/7, you know the deal).

I see me. I see the woman in her 20s who is full of dreams and ambitions. If I close my eyes and imagine long enough to mentally transport to 1985 (a time I know literally NOTHING about), I see a 22 year old so determined to leave her secure life in the Midwest to become a model in California.

She’s untainted by the harsh realities of having to change diapers and taking care of a household of people called Blended Family.

I see who I came from. I see that — unbeknownst to me as a child/teenager — the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

My mother is a free-spirit. The more I live, the more willing I am to take leaps into uncharted territory.

My mother’s heart is a garden. The older I get, I see the harvest. I see the investment. I see the time that it took. The labor well after the date her kids were born. The strife and the heartache. The longing for something better. Always something better.

Most importantly, I see the answers to her prayers.

When I see my mom up to the point of 29 (when she had her favorite daughter), I see laughter and joy even though — as she would say it- she was lost and didn’t know God back then.

I definitely see beauty and I always see triumph.

When I see my mother, I see her journey into motherhood. I see the trials and tribulations she needed to face before she became my mother so that she could raise me to be what God has called me to be.

It is through her transparency with her story, her vulnerability in sharing her mistakes, her spiritual, consistent guidance in the rough patches in my life, and her everlasting, unconditional love for me that makes me want to become unselfishly the best woman, the best wife, the best friend, the best sister, the best auntie and the best mother I can possibly be.