Coping / Family / Parenting / Women

The Kindest Eyes

Picture from Mommy's memorial service, June 28, 2012. By Todd Allred

Picture from Mommy’s memorial service, June 28, 2012. By Todd Allred

Earlier today/yesterday I was thinking about how blessed I was to get to love and know my Mom.

In addition to the usual mother-daughter tussles, we had what I’ll call “separation anxieties.” So there were plenty of reasons for us to fight and tons of opportunities for us to have misunderstandings and slights — both real and perceived.

One day, when I was in my 20s, I was going through my mother’s closet and there it was!! The realization that I really was HER daughter. Even though she wasn’t my primary caregiver, I was a lot like her. That closet held the exact same outfit that I had recently bought from Lerner’s. Same color even! (The only difference was that she found it someplace at a significant discount, while I paid full price.)

Right then I decided I could never deny my Mom, nor would I ever want to. She seemed to always be so hard on me and push me away. But in her later years, she was soft, gentle and plain cool — for the most part.

She had a lot to deal with in her life and she did what she thought was best for me by having me brought up by my aunt and grandparents. That separation was tough and has had long-lasting implications for me.

But later my Mom pulled me close and gave me glimpses of herself and how she grew up. I came to appreciate all of our similarities and our differences seemed so small.

My Mom became 95% blind in her final years, but she could “see” so much more then when she was sighted. Her senses and emotions brought out the true, wonderful Evelyn Burkett Smith Flanagan — at least for me.

She looked at me with the kindest eyes, which is all I ever wanted from her. The world will be critical enough of your child and a parent should gaze upon their child with the kindest eyes.

Thank you Mommy, I love you.

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