Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: Her heart sang with pride

me and Mom

Me and Mom

I am sure that throughout the course of my life, I’ve made my mother proud of me. But there is one time in particular that her beaming pride stands out to me as something really special; maybe because I was so proud of myself at the same time; or maybe because I think it was a real turning point in my life and, in a way, our relationship.

I was a difficult teenager, to put it lightly, so I know when I graduated from high school, I surprised not only my mother, but anyone who knew me. Not because I didn’t seem capable but because I gave every indication that I had no intention of doing so. I skipped classes, didn’t do required homework, didn’t study etc. But in the eleventh hour, I pulled a miracle out of my ass and managed to graduate high school. And, on the day of that graduation, although I knew my Mom was proud of me, I think it was less the all out, sing-from-the-heart, you-blew-my-mind kind of pride and more the “thank the lord…praise God…amen….PHEW” kind of pride.

But let me tell you, the day I graduated university was an entirely different story. That was the day I saw my mother’s heart sing with pride.

I remember the day clearly. I graduated from a program that was only three years old so there were only two of us. We stood tall in a sea of other graduates from the many other faculties. As we took the stage, got our degrees, and walked the red carpet for photos, the image of my mother’s tears of pride carried me through. She practically glowed. I don’t think I had ever seen or felt her pride more than on that day.

It was an extraordinary experience for me. I had fought against my need for her approval throughout my teenage years spouting ignorant statements of “who gives a shit what she thinks” only to discover and admit as a young adult that I actually did give a shit; her pride in me mattered deeply. I could no longer deny it – it felt good to see her proud.

It was a turning point in our relationship because graduation signified her and I coming to a level of maturity in our mother-daughter relationship that we hadn’t had before. For me, making the choice to go to university had nothing to do with what she thought or wanted. It was a decision I made for me, entirely, 100%. And then I worked my butt off to achieve it.

And for my mother, she had to learn to let go. And she did so graciously. She let me figure it all out on my own: applying, student loans, books, classes, studying, papers, working part-time, summer jobs etc. She was there for advice if asked, there for support if requested, but otherwise she let me figure it out, which is what we needed for our relationship to grow. She let go and she trusted. I can only imagine the number of times she wanted to speak out, to say something, to push or to guide out of love and experience. But she recognized that she couldn’t “make” this happen for me. She recognized that I had to learn it on my own through trial and error. She recognized that I needed to carve out my own journey.

When I graduated from university, my mother and I graduated from an uninspiring relationship into a new, mature, and thriving adult relationship based on mutual respect, honesty, pride, and equality.

Words simply cannot express how proud we were of each other in that moment.

Mama Kat Writer's Workshop

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. This week I went with prompt #3 Describe a time when someone was proud of you.

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