First, your mom teaches you how to be a daughter.
She teaches you that you can do anything, be anything. You’ll watch her fight to the death in an argument over why a girl can be just as good a firefighter as a boy.
Yet, she always rides in the passenger seat of the car with her guy. Even if he’s driving her car. You learn that independence and strength are virtues, but it’s ok to let someone love you and do things for you, too. So although you become the editor of your college campus’ feminist magazine, you also appreciate when a man opens a door for you.
She lets you grow up and move away. She tells you that if you’re happy where you are, you should stay. But she still calls you “baby girl.” She still threatens to hug you 99 times the next time she sees you. Because you’re her daughter, and years and distance don’t change that.
One day, you find out you’re pregnant. And you call her with a ruse to get her on Skype, so you can tell her “face-to-face.” But she knows you too well, and sees through your ruse, and guesses that you’re pregnant. And you’re kind of glad that the plan was ruined so that you could have that moment.
She flies 2,000 miles to attend your baby shower; flies 2,000 miles again to meet your son; and then flies 2,000 miles to be his nanny for a month to prolong the moment when you have to drop him off at daycare.
From her, you learn to trust your instincts. She teaches you how to play, how to read stories to your kid. Because you see the ease with which she is silly with him and it makes you feel a little less crazy for all the songs you make up and sing to your baby, trying to get a laugh.
But mostly, you realize for the first time how much she loves you. Because now you know a mother’s love, and you know how unmatched that love is with anything else in the universe.
She’s the first person you want to call with bad news, with good news, or with you-won’t-believe-what-my-kid-just-did news.
I’ve been a mom for 7-1/2 months, and I have so much to teach my kid. But I’ve been a daughter for 29 years, and I’m still learning from her.
Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. I am discovering that Mother’s Day is awesome. I slept in today. Like, first trimester sleeping in. It was that good. And coffee magically appeared by my bedside. And I can smell breakfast cooking. And I got this:
Be still my heart.