I guess the best a mother can do is to give their children the opportunity to make the most of their lives. I hope I’ve done that for my daughter. I know my mother loved me and would have done anything for me but there were things I wanted that I never asked for and it never occurred to her, having come from war torn England and the deprivations of those years, to offer.
No one is to blame. That’s not what this is about. This is about jealousy. Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of my daughter. Is that terrible? I envy her education. She’s going to an excellent small private college on the East coast. She’s lived in dorms, off campus housing and shortly will be living in her own apartment near campus. I went to a local school, albeit an excellent one, that was huge and impersonal and I lived at home. Being a commuter student you miss about 75% of the college experience. Had I begged, my mom probably would have found a way to afford on campus housing but I hadn’t been raised to ask for things. I always knew that money was tight and frugality was the norm.
I envy her travels. I never had a semester abroad – I don’t remember any of my friends doing that – perhaps its an East Coast thing. Anyone I’ve spoken to who did a semester or a year abroad always gets a far away blissful look on their face when recalling that time – trekking across Europe, making friends all over the globe, sampling new cuisines and lifestyles. My daughter started her study abroad in high school. First there was the month in France studying French then the school sponsored trip to Thailand with some community service at a local school thrown in for good measure and lastly the senior class trip to Peru. Compared to those her college semester abroad in Bath, England felt, well, dull. She almost didn’t go but I encouraged her and I’m so glad I did. She made great friends, traveled not only the English countryside but took a Spring break trip to Italy that included stops in Venice, Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre.
This summer she’s going to be living in Manhattan – The City, the Big Apple, the Great White Way, the hub of civilization in the United States. Sure, LA is pretty terrific. Certainly I’d take our weather over New York’s any month of the year but it’s just not the same. I don’t want to live in Manhattan but I’d love to possess the confidence to live and work there. She’s got that at twenty, wow! That’s what I wish I had even now.
I envy her courage. She’s never played it safe. Her choices always involve some risk – what school to attend, where to travel, what courses to take. In comparison, I ‘see all sides of a situation and weigh the pros and cons to arrive at the logical, safe conclusion’. But that’s changing. I’m going to be bolder, live life more fully and take some chances – and that is due to her excellent example.
I just got an email from her – it being Mother’s Day and all. She sent her love and reminded me that it is the independence I’ve always allowed her and the support I’ve always offered that gave her the strength to be the person she is and to do all that she’s done. I may not have had the same opportunities she’s had but it feels really nice to have given them to her because, isn’t that what motherhood is all about? Now I need to thank her for being my inspiration. I encourage her and she encourages me – nothing could be better. I’m one lucky mom.