Nothing can influence a child’s development more than the interactions with their mother. A mother and a daughter have a special connection. One day that daughter may grow up to be a mother of her own. When that happens, she will look to her mom for advice, help, and guidance on how to instill a kind and decent heart in her child. She will call her to ask questions like, “Is it ok that he hasn’t pooped in five days?” and “What is this rash?” The daughter will realize her mother once did all these things that she is now doing for her child, and her heart will swell with new-found gratitude for her own mom. The mother will see her daughter taking care of her grandchild, noticing how life eventually comes full circle, reminiscing about the days she held her baby the same way.
Moms- They’re Just Like Us
I think it’s easy to forget that our mothers once did all the things we are doing with our children. They changed dirty diapers, wiped booger noses, and calmed sniffling bodies in the dead of night. They felt the swell of love when we said something cute and funny, and reached for the wine bottle at the end of a very long day. Suddenly those days turned into years, and we grew up. We moved away, got married, and started having babies of our own (sometimes not in that order). Our mothers watched from afar, hoping they did everything they could to make us into decent humans.
As I watch my girls grow, I realize that the feelings I have are all feelings my own mother had. She probably thought the same things I think when my 6 year old throws an epic temper tantrum and I see my own character flaws shining through her. She continues to give me advice on how to handle motherhood, marriage, and my career. She is there for me when I need her. And even though I’m all “grown up” (and I put that in quotes because despite being married, owning cars and a home, and having three children, I don’t feel like a grown up), she is still there for me like she was 20 (ok, maybe 25) years ago.
My Mom Still Colors Easter Eggs with Me
Despite being over 30 years old with three children of my own, my mom makes it a point to keep up traditions we held when we were kids. As the wife of a military service member, I am not always close to home during holidays. But, if I am, you bet your bottom dollar we will be coloring Easter eggs as a family. Or, I will get my very own Easter basket. And I will always have at least one present from Santa under the tree.
For years this tradition seemed silly. My brothers and I would come home from college and my mom would have hidden the Easter eggs we were forced to color the night before around the house. And although we all laughed and shook our heads, we dutifully went around with the same Easter baskets we had as kids, torn and tattered now, to find all the eggs. Once grandkids started coming into play, the tradition spilled over to them, but adults were always included in the search and recovery operation of the Easter eggs. If no one is in town for the holiday, then the tradition falls to my father who colors those hard-boiled eggs (although he refuses to search for them) and gets an Easter basket filled with marshmallow chicks and chocolate covered cherries.
My mom has always been the playful one of the family. Her silliness served her well during her career as a teacher-turned-principal for 20+ years. She makes sure that all of us kids (the grown adult kids, not the actual kids) of the family still have fun. When we visit for holidays, she stays up to play board games or cards. Her silliness has even rubbed off on my dad, who used to be straight-faced most of the time. There is no doubt in my mind that her drive to keep us young in her mind is a way to keep herself young at heart.
Keeping Up with Traditions
It’s easy as we, and our kids, grow older to give up on traditions. Life gets busy and our kids get moodier. Then before we know it, they are out of the house and we are stuck wondering what the heck happened; why we didn’t color more Easter eggs together. If my mother has taught me one thing, it is to keep coloring Easter eggs with my kids.
I have come to love and cherish the fact that this is something my mom still has us do together as a family. When I was younger, I didn’t get it. I thought she was just being weird but I went along with it because it was my mom. It was her “thing.” But now- now, I get it. As a mother myself, I see why she wants to keep up this tradition with us. I see now that even though all of her children are in their 30’s and 40’s, that we are still her children. She still sees us as the tumbling toddlers, the tantruming preschoolers, and the moody teenagers we once were. She has her own memories of long nights, difficult days, and joyous memories that even we don’t remember. All those moments I try to hold on to as a mother are the same types of moments she has held on to all these years. She still wants to color Easter eggs with us because when she looks in our eyes she still sees the little ones she rocked to sleep.
Seeing how my mother sees me and my brothers allows me to reflect on how my children will one day see my relationship with them. I want them to know that I will always be there for them, even when they are old enough to take care of little humans on their own. I want them to have connection with me that they can then pass on to their own children. I want them to one day look at their children and think, “So this is what mom meant” when they see their child smile for the first time or hear their child slam their door shut. I want to have them come home each Easter to color eggs (if possible) because time is fleeting but memories are not.
One thing about watching your children grow older is that you realize that you, too, are growing older. And so are your parents. One day, holidays with them will be a memory of the past. I won’t be pulling out the plastic egg cups from my mom’s kitchen cabinet to color the hardboiled eggs. I won’t be searching for an Easter basket, giddy with excitement even though I’m old enough to have school age children. The only thing I can do is continue on the traditions my own mother has set forth, and hope that my children will one day reflect with fondness like I do on the years we spend coloring Easter eggs.
Photo Credit: Lauren Lomsdale