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Column

Mother’s Day: Understanding the journey

I’ve been thinking about this Mother’s Day column for a couple of weeks now, and I was really struggling with it. For some reason, this year it needed to be perfect — not so much for my mom, but primarily for me. Sounds weird, I know, but I needed this column to convey what lives in my heart.

Still I struggled. I even went back to my Mother’s Day columns from many, many years ago and reread them — hoping to get some inspiration. It was a crazy journey for me, as I reread many of those old columns. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I studied many of my words from long ago — remembering times when life was different for both my mom and me.

I spend a lot of time with my mom. It’s not a chore, rather a pleasure and a privilege to hang out with the person with whom I’ve known since I took my first breath. My first friend ... I am very lucky.

In many ways my mom and I are very similar, and in just as many ways, we are quite different — though the older I get, the more I realize those things that make us different are disappearing. Funny how that works, isn’t it.

As a little girl, I wanted to be just like Mom. I looked at her with the eyes of a doting child, eager to win her approval, which I already had. I remember trying to imitate her ... be just like her ... and feeling upset when I couldn’t be with her. I loved my mom; there was no doubt about that.

In grade school, I started turning into this green-eyed monster. Oh, I had a personality of the perfect kid in public, but turn me loose on the farm, and I was ... well, let’s just say I was a free-spirited child. Don’t misunderstand ... I had great manners, but I also had a mind of my own. I know there were moments when I clearly tried her patience, and on the flip side of that parent/child coin, there were just as many moments when she tried mine.

Fast forward a few years to high school, and I was probably considered a somewhat rebellious teenager (I should probably leave out the word “somewhat!”). As I think back on those years, the first thing that comes to mind is “bless her heart.” That free-spirited child turned into a teenager who didn’t take direction very well — one who had all the answers and who never wanted to grow up to be like that woman who felt like she needed to keep her thumb on me. Let’s just say high school was a painful four years for both of us.

After high school, I grew up quickly. Anxious to be on my own, she obliged. I think there was some kind of a “tough love” lesson going on — perhaps for both of us. As a young adult, there were clearly a lot of “firsts” for me and a lot of “lasts” for her. We both grew in a variety of ways — many times when we didn’t even realize it. Our minutes together were sparse, but that was OK. I had the freedom to grow and learn and understand, and she had the freedom an empty nest allows. Ironically, our minutes together started to be meaningful.

Years passed ... time moved on ... the calendar pages turned ...

We both watched each other as life’s experiences became part of our collective yet separate journeys. Ironically enough, I saw a woman handle more than she ever gave herself credit for, and she saw the green-eyed, know-it-all monster turn into a woman whose eyes became softer and who realized she didn’t know half as much as she thought she did. Our times together became more frequent — still mother and daughter, but now also friends.

A lot has happened in the past 50-plus years ... It’s been a journey which we will never forget — one path that turned into two very different paths ... and back again. Now, we celebrate the differences (of which there are still many), and we embrace the similarities (of which there are more). Oh sure ... Mom will always wish I wasn’t in such a hurry, and I will always wish I didn’t have to hurry so much. Mom will always be a worrier, and I will always act like I don’t have a care in the world (even though she knows I do). But by and large, we get it.

Even though much has changed for the two of us, with just a look, we still know what each other is thinking, feeling. Together, we share a raised eyebrow or two. We laugh together until tears roll down our cheeks, and we cry together, handing each other a tissue or two. In many ways, the changes in our journey have been huge; in other ways, life is still the same, and I cherish that.

But regardless of the curve balls and stunts life has thrown at us, one thing remains consistent — we can still look into each other’s eyes and find love. Regardless of everything, that’s all that really matters anyway, isn’t it.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to all the women who are important to so many. May your day be filled with wonderful memories. And like me, may you cherish the beloved woman, the dear lady — the ultimate friend who you call Mom.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com.

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