Mirror Magazine


That unbreakable bond
By Mama's Girl
I would spend hours as a child flip-flopping in my mother's shoes with her lipstick smeared on my face, a cloth fixed on to my short crop in the shape of a konde and even plastic specs to complete the look. Yes, I would be just like my mother, that was about the only long-term plan I had, at the time.

A few years on however, the tune changed completely: 'The mother' became 'the monster'; the person I swore I'd never end up like. I am going to do everything differently, was the promise I faithfully made to myself, during years of ferocious scribbling in diaries while shedding gallons of tears. And then suddenly you find, that you are unable to move away from the essence of what is 'her'. For crying out loud, I use the same amount of mustard in a particular curry and it's not something I do consciously, it just happens! Like my affinity for biting off pieces of tape even when there are scissors readily available...

There's a lot of talk about the idyllic father daughter relationship and the pleasure of complete indulgence one receives as daddy's little girl. Oh, there's no denying that! Yet, while that may be so, there is a 'special something' about a mother daughter relationship.

For Sharmini, mother of a pre-teen, hearing her daughter tell people that she wants to be a "computer teacher just like mummy" was very special, even though she ruefully admits that the ambition may change over the years. She believes that a mother daughter relationship can be a very special experience, based on the fact that the two spend so much time together, even if the activity isn't necessarily an emotional one: "You're always there for her and she learns through you, your experiences. I feel my daughter is closer to myself than my husband, who has a soft spot for his son. Granted a father has his place in his daughter's life but they are there for something specific, whereas mothers are just there all the time."

However, as Sharmini finds herself on the brink of the 'turbulent teens', she finds that the girl who was earlier more dependent on her and needed her to prompt, to assist, to help at all times has become quite independent. "Being on the verge of adolescence, she can be irritable and demands that she has her way all the time, but given the physical and emotional changes she is going through at this stage that can be only expected."

As she brings up her daughter, Sharmini remembers her own mother who was very patient. "I would love to be that patient, be a little more like my own mother, but I am more hot-tempered!"

"With my daughter, I think it will get harder. This is just the beginning of the difficult times. I think she will be wilful, always wanting her own way. But I encourage her to share things with me, which she does to quite an extent, even little intimate details. This I would like her to continue."

Natasha, at twenty-two, has experienced the continued sharing with her mother and at this point can safely say she is "good friends" with her mom. "However, I can't discuss everything with her - we are not the 'best-est' friends, in that sense - but we are good enough friends to share things with each other." Although Natasha does talk to her mother, there are some things she leaves out for she feels, "It may cloud her outlook, which may make her wary about life in general and I don't want that to happen. "This difference of opinion, Natasha feels is as a result of the kind of upbringing she had and the upbringing her mother gave her. "I think I experienced a lot more freedom, which is what makes our relationship special."

Still, a mother will always be mother... "There are times when my mother feels she still needs to protect and guide me; though I feel guided enough already. I suppose, in that sense, the parent child relationship is very much present."

Not having gone through particular stages in her relationship with her mother, Natasha feels that hers has always been a close relationship with her mother, save the occasional tiff. "Earlier my reliance on her was greater. Now I ask her for advice and although she gives me her opinion it does not mean that it is necessarily what I do. It will definitely shape my decision, but it is not the only option. When I was younger, if she gave advice she expected me to take it. Now it has evolved to a sort of dependence with independence which is nice and I feel comes with age. It's fun now, because I think the pressure is off somewhat so she is also more relaxed."

In comparison to the relationship she has with her father, Natasha feels although it's her mother who knows at once when Natasha needs her she is not completely ready to accept her as a grown up. "I also think she's the one going through the bad age now," she laughs wickedly. "She loses her temper when she expects me to listen when I want her to argue out something with her. She thinks I'm annoying her! At this stage she can't deal with it."

Now I understand some things better though, says Natasha. What she used to agonise over and never be able to understand then, now makes sense. Realising in hindsight, like most of us do, that mom really did know what she was doing after all! "Though there are some things I will do differently, I will always appreciate the values she taught me and pass them on to my own children."

Says Mrs. A. de Mel who has a daughter studying abroad: "I've never done anything to tow the line to keep the relationship going. I've told my daughter sometimes that what I feel may be a conservative opinion. But that it is one she should consider and not dismiss because it comes with love and concern." She can safely say that she is happy with the relationship she has with her daughter. "Whatever problems she has had, she has come to me with them and has discussed over the years almost everything from prospective boyfriends to belly piercings!"

Her daughter did go through a stage of saying she hated her mother - "I'm not saying it didn't hurt, it did. But at the same time, she was able to say that to me knowing that my feelings for her would not change. But our relationship grew closer over the years; a closeness that distance didn't break, perhaps even strengthened. Though she is miles away she keeps herself as close as possible."

For Mrs. de Silva, if a relationship between mother and daughter is not right, she feels the onus is on the older person, as she is the more experienced one in the relationship. An opinion that has bothered her own mother who, as Mrs. de Silva puts it, "treated me as if I were 25 when I was 45! We have gotten a lot closer over the last few years though and now she tells me to 'be my age'."

So it's almost unanimous; she may be your worst enemy at times but your mother can be your best friend. You may spend most of your life pushing her away, but she is always there. (Though that may not necessarily be the best thing at all times!)

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