“Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo” my mother told me, shining a light on her wisdom in an attempt to guide my youthful, rebellious reasoning. I thought of this a few days ago after laughing for stating that if I ever catch any of my children doing half of the things I did….
I checked the mirror, expecting to see my mother’s face looking at me, smiling at the metamorphosis. This is not to say that as an adult I agree with everything that she taught or believes. However, I’ve learned through one of life’s great transforming events – parenthood – how better to place myself in her chancletas. It’s a sad irony of life that those chancletas are too big to fit until you find yourself firmly in adulthood, since walking in them can help make the journey of the relationship a loving and respectful one.
Undoubtedly, there are some fortunate people whose relationships with their mothers are the envy of many friends. For them, the identification with their moms is easy and pleasurable. The opinions are harmonious and relations are easily friendly. These happy people realize early on the wisdom of the cherished Madre, and the pair walk through life happily.
For others, however, the mother/child relationship is one of the most important, influential, constantly evolving diplomatic endeavors they will face. The diplomacy is made easier when one can translate the actions from the maternal context into one’s own language. This is difficult to do.
I think, for example, of the reaction that my mother must have had when I announced that I’d be going to college in New York City. What I remember feeling at the time was the apprehension and worry with which she helped me go. I translated those emotions into accusations of attempted maternal repression of my flight from the nest. My narrow shoes didn’t allow for what must have been a terrifying experience for her. Just thinking of my own two year old baby telling me that she is off to live in a huge, dangerous, far away city is enough to make me shudder with fear while I rush to deposit live-at-home-during-college bribe money into the bank.
I didn’t know to look at my leaving from my mother’s point of view. I hadn’t yet developed the skills to do so, nor was I able to communicate my impressions to her. But, today, facing the same hopes for and worries about my children as she had for me, I can illuminate her teachings with the soft glow of understanding that her actions were born from love and protectiveness. I can see the jewel of a woman who had the wisdom to do her best to love, raise and help her children. No matter the disagreements about details and opinions, my mother was right in this wisdom.
Gracias, Madrecita for loving me with a pure heart. Feliz Día from your diablita in training, as I step carefully into your big shoes.