Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Becoming My Mother

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Growing up my sister and I were lucky enough to have an elementary school teacher for a Mom. Some people wouldn't know what's so special about that, but those who have had the experience know exactly what I mean. Our days were virtual classrooms and filled with crafts, plays, books, different activities for different days of the week, for different months, for every season, and so many songs. Oh, the songs!  We had a little diddy for absolutely everything- bed time, teeth brushing time, clean up time, you name it.

I have very vivid memories of every kind of moment with my Mom- some simple things, like sitting with her at Island Beach State Park, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, careful not to let the breeze blow sand into the strawberry preserves. Funny things- like when she visited me up at college and we got a little tipsy, my Dad driving us all the way back to their hotel with her singing Bruce Springsteen's "Jersey Girl" out the window. Or that time when we were so bundled up we could barely move, let alone run a few miles in the middle of a Wyoming snowstorm two weeks before my wedding because I just had to stick to my workout regime. I remember more complicated things too- many of them- like that one time in high school I knew I really, really disappointed her, and the way it felt to see her cry, my too-cool-for-anything teenage heart breaking at the sight of her tears. Most memories are happy though, like the pb&j on the beach, or baking a million cookies at Christmas, or being so little and hearing the sound of her favorite songs wafting up through the house on Saturdays, straight from the 8-track player downstairs.

There are so many times now where I'll catch myself doing something that is 100% my Mom. I'll be cooking dinner and find myself singing a silly, made-up song under my breath, "yeah, put in that pepper and stir, stir, stir- mix up good, oh yeah, yeah, yeah," and I'll stop for a moment and think "oh my god, I am my mother." I'll be at the grocery store and be in the middle of a five minute conversation with the cashier, and think back to my eye-rolling teenage self, mortified that my mother just had to talk to everyone. It's how I always have to say "I love you, bye" when hanging up the phone, the way I call Henry's feet his tootsies, the big deal I make over every holiday, and the "good morning to you" song whenever I come into H.'s room at 7am. I'll catch myself tapping my hands on the steering wheel in the exact way that would annoy me to no end back in the day and I'll think "I am my mother." It's bizarre.

It's all of the little things, the everyday things, that remind me so much of her. And it's pretty crazy to now have a son of my own, and to understand what hard work she and my Dad put in over all of those years to have both my sister and I look back and say, without a doubt, that we loved our childhood so, so much. I get now why she and my father were so protective and I understand why they made the choices they made. Isn't perspective amazing? There were quite a few years growing up where the last thing I wanted to be was anything like my parents (those jerky people who enforced too many rules and took away all my fun!), but now, I wear the "I am becoming my Mother" badge with honor. I couldn't be prouder to share so many qualities with the best woman I know, and now every time a silly little song comes into my mind, or I find myself small-talking with a stranger, or eating dark chocolate before I go to bed I smile, because I know exactly where that comes from.

68 comments:

  1. What a sweet post! I too had a mother who was a teacher (middle school) and she always found fun and creative ways to keep me entertained! It was truly the best and I cannot imagine growing up any other way.

    - Angela Marie @ http://sunkissedivory.blogspot.com

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    1. Teacher moms are the best! :) I'm so happy you could relate. <3

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  2. How gorgeous Danielle, your Mum should feel so proud (I'm sure she does) that all her and your Fathers dedication has paid off. I too have an amazing Mum, who has taught me many things. Also filling raining days with fun activites and lots of baking, etc. My Mum isn't a teacher, but a very amazing woman who I adore and look up to. Sweet post xoxo

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    1. Aww thank you so much for the sweet comment. Yay for great mums! ;)

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  3. What a beautiful post and what an honor for your mother. :-)

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  4. I have been turning into my mother for years now. At first I was appalled (I seemed to only be taking on those habits of hers that drove me the most insane in my teen years, like singing Christmas carols in April) but now I realize that I am lucky to be anything like the amazing woman who raised me.

    Such a lovely post

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    1. Isn't it just crazy how it shifts? We are so lucky to have great women to emulate.

      Lots of love! <3

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  5. That's so sweet! And what a special bond you have with your mother.

    Every now and then I hear my parent's voices coming out of my mouth, but usually it makes me smile!

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    1. Thank you so much Bridey! And yeah, isn't that crazy! I do the same thing with my Dad.

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  6. Wow that was just the sweetest post. The sweetest. :)

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  7. This post made me cry!! What a beautiful tribute to your mother! And an amazing way to reflect on your own growth as a mother!

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    1. Thank you so much! She read it tonight and it made her cry too. <3

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  8. Patty darranguiseMay 2, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    Beautiful post. It's wonderful being a mum. I am nothing like mine though.... Yours sounds like a dream
    Mum xx

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    1. Thank you Patty- and thank you for reading! :)

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  9. So sweet and heartfelt =) It's funny, I don't even had kids and I already am becoming my mother in so many ways... she's also an elementary school teacher.

    Thanks for brightening my morning :)

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    1. We are lucky to have Moms who are teachers! Thank you for saying I brightened your morning...that brightened MINE!

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  10. This is such a lovely post, Danielle. As a relatively new follower to Sometimes Sweet, your writing skills have been such a welcome change. For a lot of bloggers it's all about the photos and while photos are certainly important (and yours are great!), it's so refreshing to find a blogger who can actually write, too! Thanks for sharing.

    xo
    Sierra

    http://viennawaitsblog.blogspot.com/

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    1. Sierra thank you so much for this kind comment! It means so much to me because I really love writing and sharing it here- you saying that makes my night. Thank you. <3

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  11. i first realized that i do things like my mother when i was about 15. i rearranged and redecorated my bedroom every few weeks and my mother woult always do that. everytime i come to visit my parents their place looks different.
    by now there are so many thing i do just like she would, even the way i sit is the exact same. (and i talk to myself sometimes, a thing i always made fun of).
    back when i was 15 i was too cool to appreciate what i got from her but now it makes me smile, i'm proud to be like her so i totally get you!

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    1. Yes! Isn't it crazy to see those little things in yourself?

      Thank you for stopping by Jenny!

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  12. I went through a "Oh my gosh, my mom is so annoying" phase, as I'm sure we all did. I never wanted to be like her and as I grow older, although I am still not a mother, I can appreciate how she and my father raised me. There are certain habits she has that I wish I never get, but I wish one day I can be half the mom to my children as she was to my sister and me.

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    1. Yes, I think we def. all did! I am in the same boat though- I hope to be half the Mom mine is. <3

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  13. It's shocking at first, but then you kind of embrace it and realize "I didn't turn out so bad, so my kid is in good hands". :)

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    1. Exactly!

      Thank you for reading Diane! :)

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  14. LOVE this post! I so am showing signs of turning into my mother and I too, wear this badge with honor. I didn't used to because there is such a stigma attached to becoming your mother BUT I truly love the things I learned from her and I don't give the stigma credence anymore! Cheers to our mothers!

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    1. Yes Hallie! Cheers to our mamas! And to you too :)

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  15. I hope that your Mom reads this. What a wonderfully sweet post!

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    1. She did, and she loved it! :)

      Thank YOU for reading!

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  16. That was such a great post... I loved reading it.

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  17. I remember growing up in highschool, I completely resented my mother. You know, I was my dramatic 15 year old self. I never wanted to be like her. Now, like yourself, I see so many qualities in myself that are so HER. And its so funny because they are the qualities I cherish the most. Her creativity, her love, her ability to make friends with LITERALLY everyone she comes in contact with, etc. So funny how this life thing works.

    Blake Reynolds
    http://www.blakereynolds.blogspot.com

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    1. Isn't it? I am constantly in amazement at how funny it is.

      Thanks for stopping by Blake.
      xoxo

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  18. i love that you love your mom so much! it's so nice to read about. :)

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  19. i'm not a mom, but i see myself becoming more like my mother all the time. it's kind of scary, because i want to be my own person, but my mom is one of my best friends so it can't be too bad to be like her in some ways.

    this was a really touching entry to read. hope your mom reads it too!:)

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    1. She did, thank you! It made me smile (and cry). <3

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  20. I feel this post soooo much.

    My mom died in 2008, and she never got to meet her grandchildren. Still, I catch myself channeling her several times a day. From the inflection in my voice to the pet names I call Alexa. My husband says I'm starting to LOOK more like her. It's all very bittersweet because I just wish she were still here.

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    1. I'd imagine it would be - but how wonderful that she is a part of you in every way. I think that is so beautiful.

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  21. Oh my god, Danielle. Thank you for making me tear up at work! How embarrasing! :)
    Loved this post xo

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    1. hehe, sorry! ;)

      Thank you for reading (and crying...). Just kidding!

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  22. Your Mum sounds wonderful, you're very lucky to have had such a creative and engaged parent growing up, and your kids are lucky too! Unfortunately sometimes when I recognise my Mum in myself it's for negative reasons; I love her but there are many ways in which I want to be very different! Have just discovered your blog, it's lovely. Rachel :)

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    1. Hi Rachel!

      It's great though that you can recognize how you don't want to be, and move on from there. Sending you tons of love. Thank you for stopping by! And yay for new readers. :)

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  23. Your Mother sounds like a wonderful one, and it seems that you are to Henry as well. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart today, it is so very special to read about. That's why I keep coming back to your blog, I've been reading for 3 years, and this post is a perfect example why. You've got HEART, thank you for that. So many blogs have pretty pictures or awesome tutorials, but what is in your space is REAL and its so refreshing. Thank you Danielle. :) God bless you!
    --Jenna

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    1. Ahh Jenna thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. It really made my night a lot brighter. :)

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  24. I love this post so much! Your mother (and, by extension, you!) remind me of my mom so much, and I have these exact feelings often, minus having my own son to pass it to. Is your 'good morning song' the 'good morning, good morning, it's great to stay up late' one? I thought that straight away! I cut my hair into a short bob today and I am the spitting image of her too...it's crazy how much we become what came before.

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    1. The good morning song I know is "Good morning to you, good morning to you...we're all in our places, with sunshiney faces, is this not the way, to start a new day?"

      haha. Hopefully it doesn't get stuck in your head now too ;)

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  25. Such a sweet post! I too have an elementary school teacher mother, and my childhood couldn't have been better. I know exactly what you're taking about.

    Perspective is a funny thing indeed. I'm not a mother yet, but when I look back on life I understand why my parents were the way they were, and I hope when I have children of my own and they have grown up, they will understand as well.

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    1. You will be a wonderful mother! Isn't perspective amazing? It blows my mind every day.

      As always, thank you for reading, Cara! <3

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  26. I catch myself becoming my mother too! I love this post, and its extremely timely with mother's day coming up...

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    1. I thought so too! :) Thanks for reading.

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  27. This is really beautiful. Though I don't have a child yet, I catch myself becoming my own mother at times too. When I was younger and it would happen, I would hate it and try to correct the behavior immediately. But now, like you said, I get it. And I don't want to correct those traits anymore.

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  28. Beautiful. I have a few tears in my eyes, happy tears. Because I totally relate, I am my mother - and I couldn't be happier and more proud to be her. Thank you for this.:)

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  29. All of your posts sound like poetry to me. I'm only 19 years old, and I'm already starting to become my mother! Yikes! Except instead of singing whilst doing random household activities... We dance. Gotta put the dishes away? Let's shimmy down to the dishwasher. Cooking pancakes? Let's twirl around each time we flip them. The other day, I was waiting for something in the microwave and was shaking my booty each time the second-timer counted down. (Oh god) It's starting to happen in public places as well... Ohhhh noooo!
    xx

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  30. I am in tears! I personally didn't have a good childhood or great parents. My counselor actually forbid me to talk to my mother and father because of the horrific abuse they have done to me and my siblings. But deep in my heart I've always wanted a mother, one who makes up silly songs, finds fun things to do, teaches me everything. But growing up since I was the oldest, I was the mom for my siblings. But now I get to be that mom that I always wanted for myself. I get to wake up Judah with a morning song, sing together in the mirror while we brush our teeth, find fun things to do, take him out with me, meet new fun strangers or like today I was trying to teach him how to make a "Silly face". I hope to be the kind of mom to Judah that your mom was to you.
    Your mom is pretty darn amazing and I am so grateful she is your mom.

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  31. This is such a lovely post.

    I always used to hate the idea of becoming my mother - especially as we already look so alike. But nowadays, there are certain things I say or certain mannerisms I have where I catch myself and realise they're exactly like her. And, at time, when I'm looking in the mirror, I see her completely. I'm not so afraid anymore though. I wouldn't mind becoming my mother. :)

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  32. This was beautiful. Actually made me tear up. It's quite crazy becoming your mom, but there's also nothing better.

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  33. Such a beautifully written post - I can picture it all so clearly.

    xo
    cortnie

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  34. So beautiful! Made me tear up this morning :) Thank God for our wonderful parents - we are so lucky!

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  35. Happy Mother's Day to you and to your wonderful mother. Thank you for sharing such sweet memories!

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  36. This was a beautiful post, Danielle! My Mom homeschooled me and my sister our whole lives. From baby to graduating high school she was the one who taught us. Growing up she always had so many creative things for us to do and ways to teach us. I have such good childhood memories. Mom's who teach are pretty awesome :)

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