Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You've Come a Long Way Baby

I'm folding laundry in my room late last night and catch the end of the movie Anywhere But Here - remembering the tenderness of the mother daughter relationship in the story and finding myself quite surprised to be wiping a tear from my cheek.

I can't help but think about the girl I was . . .

I was angry, I was sullen, I was a pain in the rear.

And I had absolutely no good reason to be so. I had good parents. I had good friends. I had a good life. Yet, this miserable, cranky being was what others saw for the better part of my early teenage years, especially my mom.

They say that we always hurt the ones we love most.

If that is the case, than I loved her enormously. Such was the incredible length of my attitude, my irritation, my general eye-rolling existence.

Looking back to me, to us, during that time, one might assume that we never got over it. That the same mother and daughter who were at odds with each other on a daily basis would be keeping a fair amount of distance between them now, by choice. That the same mother and daughter would want little to to with each other aside from the polite holiday exchanges of a Christmas card.

Thankfully, that's not the way it is . . . not by a long shot.

When Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother tonight at the Democratic National Convention, there I was again, just like the night before, with a tear running down my cheek. Now, I'm not going to get all political here; but party lines aside, Hillary Clinton kicked much ass in this primary and for that, I am grateful.

I am grateful not only as a woman, but for the first time in a very long time, as an American. I feel like there is hope, that we may actually have a chance to redeem ourselves with the rest of the world and the world itself - the earth. I feel like we can do it, if she can do it - so can we and watching history like that in the making is one of the most exhilarating things I think one can experience.

What does this have to do with my mom, you ask?

My mom has had a Hillary button for years . . . as in, YEARS. Watching my mom support Senator Clinton from the very beginning and now seeing her crack that "glass ceiling" that had before been impenetrable is so amazing. Believing in something, someone, takes more than just trust, it takes faith, blind faith.

Sitting there in my living room with my family watching that speech was seeing history being told, like it was being read from the pages of a textbook. My children, my daughter, will read about this election. Hopefully, she will remember the feeling of being in the room and hearing the words, "My mother was born before women had the right to vote and my daughter was able to vote for me in this election."

Before women had the right to vote.

We certainly have come a long way baby.

And that's the way it is between my mom and me. We have come a long way too. Today we are friends, we value each other, we like each other and most importantly we love each other.

I look up to my mom with so much respect and admiration that it is hard to put into words, but she knows it. I have long since stopped apologizing for the agony I put her through during my teenage years, but I have never felt past it. Some things, I guess, are harder to get over than others. But she's forgiven me for the person that I let myself be and I'm sure that someday I'll forgive myself too.

Sitting there, looking at my daughter, watching someone else's daughter speak about her mother, it felt as if for a moment, the whole world made sense. For a moment, I could clearly see the otherwise invisible line connecting me and my daughter - the same one that connects my mom and me - the same one that connects my grandmother to my mom.

I know there are struggles ahead for Katie and I. I know it won't be easy. I know we will fight and cry and be mad as hell at each other. That's all part of being human. But thanks to my mom, and other strong women out there, I know that we can get past it. I know that we can be okay and that someday, maybe she will go farther than I, or my mom, or my grandma ever did.

It's that little thing called hope that makes me think that. Thank you mom, for teaching me what it is all about. But most of all, thank you for just being you. Strong. Beautiful. Confident. Smart. Happy. Brave. Mom.


Happy Birthday Mom.

28 comments:

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

What a wonderful post.

Happy Birthday to your MOM!

Carrie said...

Great post. you made me tear up. Happy birthday to your mom!

LindaJ said...

Happy Birthday J. You are strong, beautiful and confident. All the things I truly admire about you.

Carrie, Please put a tissue warning next time.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to write more than just "thank you" but my keyboard is wet.

I love you.
I love you.
I love you.

xxxooomom

The Mrs. said...

What a great post about moms and daughters and more importantly YOUR mom. Hope she has a great day!

Christy said...

That is absolutely beautiful. I am a little green with jealousy that I don't have a mother-daughter relationship like that with my mother, but at the same time happy for you that you do (truly.) I hope one day that my daughters and I will have that close of a relationship. :)

Lisa said...

That was a wonderful post. So beautiful and touching. (Wiping away a tear now too!)

Kimmylyn said...

This is the most touching post to a one's mom I have ever seen.

Happy Birthday to her.. this was beautiful..

your cousin said...

I knew that teenager well. We were very different and we weren't always friends but I always loved her. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead remember who you've become...an extraordinary woman and someone who I am lucky and proud to call my cousin, my sister, my friend.

xoxo

(happy birthday, auntie.)

Anonymous said...

Carrie--

Such a loving tribute to MY SISTER!

Love, Aunt Joan

The Scott Family said...

Thank you for sharing such a moving post.

I'm glad you have your mom and can share such a momentous moment as last night with her.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I hope your mom had a GREAT day.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I miss my mommy.

Wonderful post and sentiments.

Happy Birthday Carrie's Mom!

All Adither said...

Is that you and your mom up there?

carrie said...

That's Katie and my mom! (But it does look like like it could be me)

Thanks for sending so many more birthday sentiments to my mom everyone!

Don Mills Diva said...

Wow.

I think you just redeemd yourself for your teenage years with this lovely post.

Happy birthday to your mom!

musing said...

That's so beautiful. I hope your mom had a wonderful birthday!

Jen said...

That was such a loving tribute to your mom. I'm sure it really made her birthday!

The White House said...

That was a very touching post. So glad that I am a woman! And happy birthday to your mom...

mom2natnkatncj said...

This was beautiful! I didn't have that turmoil in my relationship with my mom when I was a teenager and unfortunately I have it now. This gives me hope that someday we will get past all of this.

Angelique said...

Awww...this is the perfect "thank you, I'm sorry" to your mom! Very sweet.

And happy birthday to her!

Auds at Barking Mad said...

This was amazingly beautiful and so very profound.

It resonates deep within me, of my relationship with my own mother.

★ Katie ★ said...

Wow. First time here, found you off McMommy's POW. Thank you. I needed to read this today. :)

Leslie said...

That was just beautiful!

JSue said...

My Mom was always very close with my 3 sisters and me.

Oh, how I miss her......

Marla said...

this is a very familiar story... it's a wonder i didn't have a girl so i could know what it feels like...

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

well put--you summarized a major relationship in our lives in a very real sense.
Beautiful!

Formercitygirl said...

That was a beautiful post.