Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers & Daughters: A Complex Primary Relationship

The mother/daughter relationship is a women’s most intimate, complicated and challenging one. In order to grow into our own potential fullness as a woman, we need to figure out a way to be simultaneously separate and connected. This essential life task, until sorted out, consumes a lot of our psychic energy and impacts all of our intimate relationships. Depending on where we are in this complex emotional separation process, having someone compare us to our mother can either be experienced as the ultimate compliment or the ultimate insult. I am so grateful that I am at the stage in my life where being told that I am similar to my mother is the ultimate compliment.

My mother will turn 96 next month. Although her body shows many signs of aging, her mind is sharp and youthful and her spirit is quite amazing. I especially appreciate her curiosity, independent nature and sense of adventure. She grew up in a time when women were not expected or supported to achieve higher levels of education or professional accomplishments. Her expectations, once she married and had a family, were primarily focused on contributing to her children and family. Mom held many community leadership roles and was always the go-to person whenever anyone had a problem. She always knew exactly what to say or what to do to save the day. In spite of her current physical limitations, mom is always ready to get on a plane to travel to a relative or grandchild’s wedding, graduation or other life-cycle event. She is a fully engaged participant in every area of her life and always has been.

My mother is my exemplar for full engagement and life-long learning; she is always asking big questions to further her knowledge and understanding of the world around her. I greatly enjoy our conversations around relationships and the meaning of life and appreciate that I inherited her love of learning, sense of adventure and optimistic nature. Thanks Mom!


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