Every now and then, my husband calls me "Daudie." That was my mother's nickname. Sometimes, I take it as a great compliment. Other times, not so much.
When I get impatient or judgmental, the nickname chafes at my soul. My Mom was a wonderful woman, but she could be extremely impatient and - at times - judgmental. Knowing this about her, I see myself adopting some of her habits.
Mothers and daughters have a complex relationship. While a young girl may resent her mother's control over her, and vow not to raise her children in the same manner, the truth is that she will probably end up being a lot like her mother.
It is often said that daughters assume facets of their mother's personality so that they can keep her alive through them.
Think of the ways your mother affected you. Recipes taught to me by my mother are still staples in my kitchen - stew, clam sauce pasta, and chili. I inherited her love of music and dancing (I can still get weepy watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).
As I age, I grow more impatient. I can recall Mom getting frustrated at a wedding while waiting for the ushers to reach her row at the end of the service. She hightailed it out before her time and I can remember being embarrassed. Later, she said to me, "I didn't want to wait. Those ushers were too slow." If we had to wait more than ten minutes for a restaurant table, she got antsy. "Let's go to McDonald's" was her stock answer to that problem.
The photos I have of my Mom remind me of her physical beauty. They also show the inevitable march of time. When my grandson saw a picture of me when I was in my 30's, he said, "What happened, Grandma?" My daughter scolded him, but I laughed and said, "Everything gets old sooner or later." When I take out pictures of my daughter and me through the years, I can see the same aspects of aging.
One of my favorite singers, Martina McBride, performs a song titled "In My Daughter's Eyes." The last chorus is especially touching:
"In my daughter's eyes, I can see the future, a reflection of who I am and what will be. And though she'll grow and someday leave, maybe raise a family, when I'm gone I hope she'll see how happy she made me, for I'll be there in my daughter's eyes."
When I look at the skin on my hands, I can tell the signs of wear and tear and loss of elasticity. I recall watching my mother's hands as she crocheted and I remember my daughter pulling at Mom's skin and saying, "Gam, your skin is loose." My granddaughter does that to me now.
Hope Edelman wrote "Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay." My Mom lives in me and I live in my daughter. And, on and on. Every mother's wish is to leave good, strong daughters as our legacy.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.