My Mother, Myself

I never studied physics, I loathed axioms, and I never believed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  But that was when I was young.

Few of us think our mothers had anything to do with the fine way we turned out.  Self-made women!  Risen above a humble background!  I did it myyyy way!

An alarming thing starts to happen when we give birth to children–they rebel, right from the beginning.  We feed them, clothe them, keep them warm.  We medicate and comfort them, turn our nights and days around for their convenience. And from infancy they challenge our judgment.

We teach them what we know, place them under the tutelage of others who know more; we pray for their safety and for wisdom in handling difficult circumstances.  And they’re convinced we know nothing.

We set aside our own aspirations, adjust our goals around them, live vicariously through their successes.  And they discharge any possibility of “good genes.”

We make excuses for them, love them when they’re miserable, forgive them for the same hurts over and over, take the blame for whatever goes wrong, weep for their spirits wounded at the hands of others.  And they tell us we don’t understand what it’s like to be young.

But they’re wrong.  Maybe the greatest single reason we care so much is because we do know what it’s like to be young.  Every older person was once young, but there is no young person on earth who was ever old.  Even I know that, and I didn’t study physics.

The amazing thing is that, in spite of the inevitability of all this, the indomitable spirit of motherhood lives on.  Good thing, too, or the human race would soon be on the endangered species list.

I’m not suggesting that giving birth and canonization are synonymous terms.  Still, the good qualities we possess are not apart from the way we were brought up.  There is a very direct connection between our mothers’ influence and our present lives.

To say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree no longer sounds like a harsh assessment; it’s more of an observable fact.  I admit to being my mother’s daughter.  I have few capabilities that can’t be traced back to her.

I guess that means I’m grown up now, right?