Like Mother Like Daughter

Dear Mom,

I just wanted you to know that I looked in the mirror today and saw you. This isn’t the first time I have seen you and I’m sure it will not the last. There have been times here and there that I would hear my words leave my mouth and when they reached my ears, I heard you. I have heard you correcting Cassidy and Jacob; I have heard you at work; I have heard you when giving advice. I hear you more often than not.

Let’s be clear, I never wanted to be like you. I always thought I would be more like Dad. He was always the creative, free spirit that would laugh and enjoy all that life had to offer and usually he’d enjoy in excess. You on the other hand, planned and worked and worked harder and organized and worked some more. You are serious about most things and it is hard to see the fun side of you. You are tough in love and life. You don’t ask for help and if it was offered you wouldn’t accept it.

None of those traits appealed to me and yet I feel like I have every one of them. I work myself so hard that I feel guilty sitting down. I take a weekend off only to think about the work that has to be done when I get back. I over think, over plan, and over work everything. I am tough in love and life. I don’t often ask for help and I rarely accept it. I feel guilty when I do.

Each day, I turn into you more and it has taken 34 years of my life to realize that it is ok. It’s not just ok, but its great!  I am realizing that all of the things about you that I thought were so difficult, are actually what  I admire the most. I love that you are tough in love because it made me who I am today. I am no push over and I get my thick skin from you. People are always trying to hurt you but they can’t do any harm if you don’t let them. You hold  everyone to a high and almost unattainable standard. It is this that has helped me to strive for more in life. Good was never good enough and great is just the bare minimum.

I love that you are tough in life. You should be at the point in life where you are getting ready to retire but you don’t. You keep fighting for something that you are passionate about. You are fighting everyday to save your Dad’s business and I am so proud! I hope some day that I have half of the fight and drive that you do!

I have watched over the years how life has beat you up. I have watched as you have been knocked around and climbed back up again only to be knocked down once more. You have never given up and I honestly believe that you don’t even know what giving up means. You have tackled so many mountains in your personal and profesional life that it is inspiring to me.

I watch as my children grow and I think about all of the times I thought…”when I’m a parent, I am never going to do this like my parents.” I would say that ninety percent of those situations have happened with my own children and one hundred percent of the time, I’ve done the exact same thing that you had done. I have realized that everything that you did was for a reason. Usually there were reasons that I didn’t understand, but I do now.

Being a wife and a mother is a tough job. I look back and don’t recall you having anything other than work and home. I don’t recall you having many friends and I don’t recall you going out to unwind at the end of the week. You worked yourself to the bone and then came home to your family. I feel sorry for not appreciating you more until now.

I look at my life and I try to make time for myself. Usually I don’t succeed more than once every other week or so, but at least I have that. You never did. I wonder if you could have been happier if you did indulge yourself every once in a while.

This weekend I saw you laugh, and dance and unwind in a way I haven’t seen….. well, ever. You let loose for a couple of hours and I saw a glimmer in you that I had never seen before. It was one that I won’t forget. While I have come to terms with the inevitable future of turning into you, I have not come to terms with the lack of fun. Seeing you sparkle this weekend made me realize how much you need fun too.

I will continue to look into the mirror and watch as I transform into you. I won’t look with anger or sadness  but rather with pride. I will watch as I mature and I will hope that I can come close to the amazing woman that you are. However, each time I look into the mirror I will now be reminded of your sparkle. I will remember that it is possible for you to have fun and breath easy even if its only short lived. If it is possible for you, than it is possible for me.

I am going to continue to search for the balance of hard working and fun and I’m going to remember to invite you when there is fun to be had. Mom, you really are amazing and I am thankful for all of the lessons that I have learned from you. I believe with all of my heart that you have shaped me into something wonderful and I pray that I will be able to do the same for my daughter. I love you and I am grateful for you!

Love, Cherise