Moms Know Best, And You Will Too
Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)
“Be a leader, not a follower”
“If Abby jumped off a bridge, does that mean Kristyn is going to too?”
“Do what works for KRISTYN, not anybody else”
“Don’t focus on the negative”
“What does it matter what anyone else thinks?”
“What is the worst that is going to happen if you try? You fail? At least you know then, right?”
It just recently occurred to me that everything that I am striving to be, all the things that I want to become on this personal journey, are all things that my mom repeated to me over and over again as I was growing up. And the memories of that are hitting me really hard right now.
Moms Know Best, You Will Too
My mom was born on August 19, 1962. She was born on my grandmother’s (her mother’s) 19th birthday. She was 19 inches long. My grandmother always knew that something big would happen when my mom turned 19. That was eventually the year she met my dad. And from there they went on to get married, have me and my brother, and live wonderful lives up until she passed away at 50 years old.
I lived in a tiny town all of my life, going to the same school for all of K-12. A school that my father had gone to as a child, but not my mother, she had attended a bigger school in the next town over. My mom told me she intentionally put me in the smaller school. She thought that it would be better for me. That in that setting, I would have stronger relationships with my peers and that there would be less bullying due to the close-knit atmosphere that came with being with the same classmates all 13 years of school. I definitely walked away with some great relationships, but also a lot of memories of bullying, despite her best intentions. It was so hard.
Looking back at the phrases my mom repeated to me, I tried so much to feel comfortable in my own skin. To not take personally every insult that was thrown at me, to be okay being different.
But I wasn’t okay, and it was very difficult for me to do it.
There were so many nights that I can vividly remember sitting in the living room of our family home, crying my eyes out on the living room couch. My mom would be sitting across from me in her chair and we would talk through all of my hurt and anxieties. There were so many times that I would beg her to let me stay home from school the next day, but she would never let me. She would always tell me that I had to face it head-on. If I didn’t go to school the next day, the issue would still be there waiting for me the day after that. She would also remind me that I was going to find myself in these situations throughout my whole life, and I wouldn’t be able to run away from them then, so I needed to not run away from them now.
The woman was HELLBENT on setting me up to be strong.
Moms Know Best, You Will Too
But I will never know if I have gotten myself to the point that she expected from me. She passed away when I was 28 years old, before I had even given birth for the first time.
Do you know what it’s like going through pregnancy and childbirth without your mother?
Especially when you are going through it at the exact same time as your childhood friend and you get to see her experience everything side by side with her own mother? It is a pain so deep that it can’t even be put into words. What I wouldn’t have given to be able to turn to my mom during a difficult contraction 4 years ago, to have her there to brush my hair to the side and tell me how great I was doing, with that ever-present confident face that she always wore. Instead, I had her picture. A framed picture of her smiling, right in front of my hospital bed. A picture that had actually been given to my niece after my mom’s funeral, but one that I knew I needed with me during this monumental time in my life, so I asked for a copy.
I wanted this particular picture because of the look she had, the look that I remembered so well and that gave me calmness and peace to look at.
Since losing my mom, there are, as expected, many memories of her that pop up from time to time. But in the last few years I have come to realize that the thing I miss the absolute most is her telling me that I am pretty.
It wasn’t even in the way that she said it, it was what she did when she said it.
It would most commonly happen out of the blue where we would be sitting together and I could just feel her looking in my direction, staring. I would slowly move my gaze over to her and she would just be looking at me with this distinct look in her eyes and a calm, happy expression on her face. She would continue to just look at me for a few seconds and then go: “You’re so pretty” with a big smile. The way she said it was in only a way that a mom could say it. It was so very genuine and filled with love. And I don’t have that anymore. I look at my own daughter somedays and find myself telling her the same thing in the same way. It just comes out like that.
When my little girl was tiny, a friend was getting married. At her bridal shower her mother was talking with a group of people about a picture of her daughter.
She was telling all of her friends, isn’t she beautiful? She just can’t take a bad picture, that daughter of mine. She’s so pretty.
I had to leave the room.
To have someone in your corner like that, someone who truly thinks the world of you, is not a relationship that you are going to have in any other way. Yes, you have your spouse or father or grandparents, but there is no love like that of a mother. I know this because of the intense feelings that I have for my own children. The unwavering, unconditional, fierce, protective love that is so needed in a person’s life. I had that for 28 years. What I can’t say is that I appreciated what I had for all of those years. Or honestly even fully realized what I had. But I can say that even now, at 34, I need that. I need that in a very bad way, and it’s a big hole that cannot be filled.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant.
The due date was 6 days before my mom’s birthday. I know that was her doing, I absolutely know that it was. I also believe that she had a hand in my son being born on the day that would have been my parent’s 33rd wedding anniversary. But I remember reading a pregnancy book, “The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy”. I will never be able to shake a feeling that it created. The book had a section that said that the best way to gauge how your own birth is going to go is to talk to your mother about how her births went. Well, thanks book. For ripping my heart out and stomping on it. Moms know best, I get it.
And then one day, in January 2014, I lost it. Completely and totally had a breakdown. I couldn’t stomach the thought of going through this without my mom. The tears came at such a rapid and overwhelming rate. I was crying from deep within. The pain that I had was so raw and real. It was an actual physical pain as well as a feeling of complete misery. My husband was sitting next to me, trying everything in his power to calm me down, with absolutely no success. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t even breathe very easily. He kept asking me what he could do. I finally choked out, without even thinking, just by action alone – “bring her back to me!!!”
That’s the only thing that could make it better.
I ended up passing out from exhaustion in a puddle of tears on our couch that night.
There’s no bringing her back. She’s gone. But the pain is still there. It comes and goes, but it’s always a constant presence in some form, in some varying level. And I think it always will be.
As I reflected on the key phrases from my childhood recently, I now know what my mom was setting me up to do. Moms know best. By happenstance I had decided to go on this journey to better myself in my 34th year, but she had these goals for me from day one. She knew what I could be, she knew the best ways for me to get there. I’m just late to the game.
And as I look at my little daughter, celebrating her 4th birthday this coming Wednesday, just 11 days before her Grandma Sue would have celebrated her 56th, I see that my mother is with me. She’s just not in the form that I have in my memories. This little girl has so many characteristics of the woman who raised me. You would think that she is my mother, reincarnated. She looks like her. She’s bossy like her. There are times that she pushes me like her. She even has a smile that radiates confidence like her. Also she forces me to look at the positive things instead of the negative like her.
And she even loves me like her.
And this morning, in the car, she said to my husband and I, with such happiness in her eyes and an adoring look: “You guys are beautiful”.
I love you Mom.
Moms know best.