I recently pulled off the expressway for a quick bite to eat, having a little extra time and pocket change to spare. As I stood in line, I couldn’t help but notice a group of women in front of me. They obviously consisted of a mother, her daughter standing next to her, her daughter being held in her arms. Three generations out for an afternoon.
The little girl was about 3 years old with a little pink bow in the middle of her curly brown hair. She was the spitting image of her grandmother with the same square jaw and hair style, minus the pink bow. She was patiently trying to fix the little pink bow on her granddaughter’s head but the fussing, complaining and wriggling made it almost impossible.
“Mom, just leave it. It is fine,” said the mom to her mom in somewhat of a frustrated voice.
“It is driving me crazy. It is all cockeyed,” replied the mom to her daughter.
“Hannah, would you hold still for me please. Just let me fix your bow. It is crooked,” said the grandmother to her granddaughter in a very sweet sing song voice.S
“I want some chicken nuggets,” said the daughter to her mom.
“Just let Nana fix your bow and then I will get you some chicken nuggets,” said the mom to her daughter. She had to put the little girl down, the wriggling getting to be too much.
The little girl finally submitted to the request and stood still, with her chin held high so her grandmother could fix the little pink bow.
The aged woman bent down to do the necessary alterations. She carefully fixed the little pink bow so it sat perfectly in the girl’s hair and after one last adjustment, she took her delicate finger and gently tapped the end of her granddaughter’s nose, and said, “Perfect, just like your Mom and your Nana.” She emphasized the word Nana.
They shared a private smile and the moment was over.
Once to her feet, she commented to her daughter on her job well done looking for some acknowledgement and she received it with a smile, a knowing glance and a “Thanks, Mom,” and the moment was over.
This group of mothers and daughters made me smile. All these microscopic fleeting moments, taken for granted, given with affection, gone but never forgotten make up who we are especially if you are a mother and a daughter. It all comes down to moments.
The mother daughter bond is the strongest regarding parent-child relationships according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience and it comes down to science. The study found that mothers and daughters have identical anatomy in the part of the brain that governs emotions.
This translates into a person, the one person, that can understand you more than anyone else in the world. This mutual awareness, empathy and shared perception goes both ways and this is ultimately at the heart of the powerful and emotional connection. Basically nobody gets you like your mother.
Sharing DNA, a genetic makeup and an emotional brain structure does not always make for a fantastic relationship. Many women struggle with the relationship with their mothers having a problem with communication and connection.
I was one of these women many times struggling with our intense relationship. My mom was at times loving and accepting, at times distant and hard to reach. Looking back, I imagine, I ebbed and flowed in the respect, recognition and acknowledgement of her. I didn’t always see her as her own person with a past, with fears, with dreams. I just saw her as my mom. I wish I would have looked harder.
I will never forget the moment my world changed, the moment I became a motherless daughter. My mother died too young, too full of life, too important, on a rainy Friday afternoon. I stood there numb to the finality of it all, an orphan at the age of 29 and as the water fell on my face and submerged my being, I would never be the same.
I think back now to the moments, all the little moments that make up a lifetime. I try to remember her; dancing to an Elvis song playing on the phonograph in our living room, crocheting in her spot on the couch on a cold winter day, talking on the phone, legs crossed with her shoe bouncing on the end of her foot. Sometimes I can see her, sometimes, I can’t. It’s funny how memories work.
The one thing I can always do though, is feel her. I can always feel her. And without a doubt, I miss her. In the place no one else can see, in the place no one else can fill, in the place no one else can understand, I miss my mom.
I finish my sandwich and collect my things, but before I leave I glance over my shoulder at the mom, with her daughter, with her daughter and I smile, because I remember.
Just then my phone rings and it is my daughter.
“Hi Mom, are you almost home?” she asks.
“Yes my girl, I am almost home.”