Happily Even After
Moms and Daughters
by Stacey Noem
Lucy currently loves me – A LOT.
She is five years old, fairly independent, able to read and write short words, and almost able to ride a bike. So this strong devotion and affection is not the product of infancy or clinginess. She just loves me.
When I come home at the end of a fairly long day, I stop in the kitchen to talk with Joshua. Sometimes Lucy hears my voice and calls from wherever she is playing in the house, “Mama is home!” Quickly accompanied by her running into the room and giving me a big hug.
How awesome is this?!
I hate to say it, but I am pretty much banking on the fact that it probably won’t last.
Why would I say that? Well, let me put it this way: it is not uncommon, when sitting with a bunch of adult women, that one of them might be telling how their day, week, month is going and say words to the effect of “my mother is in town” with a knowing look at all of us. At which point, the women around the circle smile and nod knowingly in return.
What is this complicated relationship between mothers and adult daughters? First let me say that I understand there are adult daughters out there who might consider their mother their best friend. I have to admit to not personally knowing any of them. So I don’t know how that came to be or what that looks like for them.
The women I know have a variety of relationships with their mothers. Some are in close contact, living near one another or talking on the phone daily. Some are in regular – though not daily – contact and would say that their moms know with some detail what is going on in their lives. Some only feel a duty to stay connected and meet that duty to greater and lesser degrees.
Many feel like the transition to whatever their relationship is today happened as they navigated from being simply “daughter” to “adult daughter.” No longer a “little girl” although, likely, always “their mom’s” little girl.
I sometimes think of how Lucy and I are going to navigate the transition to her teenage and later adult years. It might sound incredibly premature for my Kindergartener. But it is only because I sense my responsibility in helping us both navigate those years well.
So, at the same time that I know her present effusive affection will not likely last; for now, I am lapping it up. Matching all of her excitement with equal excitement. Holding every hug until she lets go first…
…and then I remember, that is exactly what my mom did with me.
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