From “Mama” to “Best Friend” - My Changing Role In My Daughter’s Life
Motherhood; one of the most excruciating, difficult, heartbreaking, rewarding jobs a woman will ever have in her life. When I became a mother nearly twenty years ago, I gazed into the eyes of the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. I had carried that little girl in my body for nine long months enduring morning sickness, fatigue, excessive weight gain, back aches and more. The labor process was long and tiring and in the end I could barely push her out. It seemed as if I couldn’t go on. Finally, she was here, in my arms and I wasn’t tired anymore; I was so full of joy and a love that was so deep words could not describe it. She was mine; a small piece of her dad and I that fit together to make the perfect “her”. Nothing could get any better than that moment; or could it. The bond I shared with this little girl was deep that I could not imagine it ever changing; I was wrong.
As my daughter began to grow up so did my role as mother. Momma soon became mommy, then mom and when things got heated I was “Motherrrrr”. Sometimes I was nothing; because well that’s just what happens as our children grow up and become their own independent thinkers and doers. There was a time when nothing I did or said was right or good enough. My heart ached for that little girl who adored me and everything I did. Throughout our ups and downs the bond remained even though we didn’t realize it at the time. As we plod through our lives we continue to figure who we are and who we are becoming to one another. We’ve faced obstacles that at times have literally knocked us to our knees. The bond remains. It has become different, but it remains.
Along with the reality that I now have an adult child, my role as mother has changed yet again. This time, the mom in me has stepped aside for the friend in me to take her place beside my girl. She’s all grown up now, nearing her 20th birthday and just a few short weeks ago she shared with me that she has come to realize that I have become her best friend. “Don’t cry mom, I’m not good with all that emotional stuff” she said, but the tears flowed anyway. Somehow by the grace of God we have weathered the biggest storm (so far) in our lives and have managed to become friends; best friends. I cannot imagine life without my daughter and for my own selfish sake I hope that life plays out as it should and I leave this earth before she does. Our bond is stronger than before; something I never thought possible.
But as I pray that I never have to know what it is like to live without my daughter in my world, I know that there are many mommas who have had to answer that question when life altered their plans and left them standing alone in an empty bedroom knowing their child would never be there again. There is a young ten year old girl in my community battling a very aggressive form of bone cancer. This little girl has endured more pain than any one person should ever have to endure. She’s been through treatment and made the choice to have part of her leg amputated. This nasty disease has taken away a big part of her childhood and has invaded the lives of those close to her. Her momma has never left her side and continues to stand strong and fight as hard as she can for her child. It seems that when a woman becomes a momma she develops a sort of super strength that when faced with tragedy or difficulties, she will endure immeasurable amounts of agony all for the sake of her child. Why? Because that is what mommas do; it’s what women do. We bond, we rally and we stand strong for our family, our friends and those in need. Studies have proven that women have a strong need to bond with other women. Our friendships keep us going; they help us laugh, keep our sanity and allow us to be vulnerable without fear of judgment or ridicule.
A prime example of a mother’s un-ending dedication to her daughter and the deep rooted bond women develop for one another, tune in to Lifetime Television on October 7 at 9:00 p.m. for "Steel Magnolias". This remarkable remake of the 1989 original "Steel Magnolias" features an outstanding cast including Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad , Adepero Oduye, Condola Rashad, Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard. This movie captures the essence of true un-ending relationships between a mother and daughter and the friends they have shared for a lifetime through adversity, uncertainty, triumph and tragedy.