Monday, March 8, 2010

Mommy and Me

So I wrote this on Monday and didn't post it because I wanted to wait to get home where I had a picture of my mom to add. Unfortunately I only have older pictures and neither of us resemble this anymore.

Today is International Women’s Day; what a wonderful month filled with recognizing the achievements of women everywhere! I’d like to recognize the greatest role model in my life: my mother. While I date my feminist wake-up call to my freshman year of college, my mom instilled gender equality in my values since I was young. She has always been a model of a strong woman, helped my find my values and morals, and encouraged my success in all aspects of my life.

My favorite example of this is my old book of nursery rhymes. I did not grow up reading Mother Goose, but read instead the rhymes of Father Gander. These rhymes eliminated the gender and racial inequalities inherent in Mother Goose, and also rid them of violence. Humpty Dumpty was put back together by all the king’s horses, women, and men and Jack and Jill learned how to get up the hill safely. And my personal favorite rhyme: Jack be nimble Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candle stick. Jill be nimble jump it too, it Jack can do it, so can you! Then I got to preschool and kindergarten and everything and was told I knew the wrong rhymes: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together, Jack and Jill fall , get hurt, and fail their task, and Jill cannot do anything. What a sad state of affairs.

Looking back at my adolescent years I laugh at how much I resented the boundaries and rules she set for me. I’d whine and complain about how my other friends could watch R-rated movies and stay out later or have boys over and end up so mad. Now I can appreciate what her rules did for me. People crave boundaries, and if we do not get them we act out and rebel until we find the breaking point—find the action that pushes our parents over the edge. Children need rules and thrive on them. The kids whose parents let them stay out late and do whatever they wanted do not end up as strong, stable, independent adults. I won’t make generalizations about what does result, but it’s a fair assessment that across the board, the results are not ideal. I applaud my mother for having the strength to assert her parental guidance.

My mom and I agree on many subjects, but even when we disagree we can still have an intelligent conversation about whichever topic is at hand, and we can talk for hours. We have a similar sense of humor, and as anyone who has ever been in the same room with us knows, we have the same distinct laugh. It is so refreshing to have this close relationship with my mom and to know I can go to her with my problems once I decide to deal with them myself. She sometimes tells me things I don’t want to hear, but I respect her all the more for it.

There is no way for me to truly do this marvelous woman justice because I could never enumerate all the ways she has affected my life. I attribute the person I have become (whom I am largely satisfied with!) to not only the values she gave me, but the space she gave me to grow. She encouraged my independence yet never left me feeling alone. She always sets up the ideal for me, but lets me go about it my own way and make my own choices and mistakes.

My mother is beautiful, intelligent, strong, opinionated, and wise. She loves chocolate, babies, cats, and crossword puzzles. She has a wonderful laugh and smile. She knows so many things about so many subjects; she is the definition of well-rounded! She uses hand-sanitizer and makes sure there is some available at group gatherings. What can I even say except she is my mom, she’s fabulous, and I love her.

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