Family is the single most important thing in the world. There's no debating or denying that.
However, every family dynamic is different. The “modern family” is completely unorthodox in its structure. For me, there's nothing “traditional” about my family. In fact, my relationship with my mom is basically a long, drawn-out version of “Freaky Friday.”
My mom isn't someone I talk to every single day. She wasn't the “put a note in my lunchbox and have breakfast on the table every morning” type. We didn't have the “Gilmore Girls” relationship, and I've come to realize that's OK.
I'm not insinuating that my mom doesn't love me. She just doesn't have the most customary way of showing it. She was never the mom who ran PTA meetings, took me to lunch every Saturday or made embarrassing signs to wave in the front row of my volleyball games.
For a while, I struggled with it. I went through every emotion imaginable.
I was bitter. I was sad. I was angry. I was “fine.”
I was grateful to have a mom at all. I was envious. But as I reach my early 20s, I've come to realize this relationship has made me who I am today.
It has also given me a sense of strength I never would've otherwise had. Here are the reasons why:
1. I'm more responsible.
I didn't go through the whole “coddling” thing. My mistakes weren't defended by the one person biologically programed to always think I'm right.
The fact that my mom was not more of a best friend or mother figure made me more thoughtful and cautious. It made me rational. It made me realize that my decisions affect those around me.
I learned this at a very young age. As a result, I've become more mature, and I'm able to be consciously considerate. It also helped me shed some of my teenage naivete a bit earlier.
2. It made me appreciate what I have.
There were days when I truly wished with all my being that I could change my situation. I wished I could be incessantly spoiled, and I wished I could be more reliant on my mom.
A part of me really shouldered the weight of everything she couldn't carry. But in retrospect, I'm glad.
The lessons I gathered from those experiences during the most formative years of my life helped me reach a point where I'm actually grateful. I'm appreciative I have a mom to call a best friend in the first place, and I'm thankful I've learned so much in the process.
3. It made me a “daddy's girl.”
Even though I didn't have the strongest relationship with my mom, I was blessed with a truly remarkable relationship with my dad. He disciplined me, laughed with me (and at me) and taught me more about being strong in the face of adversity than anyone else ever could.
Having a kickass father figure to look up to has made me poised, and it has forced me to set the bar very high in every aspect of my life.
4. I plan to use it as incentive.
Even though I've grown to understand and have an appreciation for the relationship I have with my mother, it has also given me incentive for my future. I've become hell-bent on having a different relationship with my future children.
I've grown so comfortable and content with the reality of this situation that I've been able to utilize it and use it as fuel for something better. Truly, I believe that's the essence of growing up: realizing your parents weren't perfect, accepting it, loving them anyway and then, reconciling when you get the chance.
So, when I assume this role sometime in the (very distant) future, I will be able to take a little piece of the friendship I had with my own mom. But I'll also make up for the discipline and reliance I always craved.