Strengthening the Mother-Daughter Bond, Part 2
My daughter Alexandra Kondos shares her perspective on how Callister's birth has strengthened our relationship.
Several months ago I wrote a blog about how my relationship with my daughter changed after she became a mother. This week, my daughter, Alexandra Kondos, has written about how she feels our relationship has changed since her son was born six months ago. We’ve always been close, but now I feel like she “gets me” in a way she never did before, and our bond has become even closer. Here is her perspective on our evolving mother-daughter relationship.
When I decided to have a child, I anticipated needing my mom for questions about teething and sleep schedules and ear aches. I expected to call her in the middle of the night and ask for tips and tricks on how to get a baby to sleep or how to handle colic. I didn't realize how much I'd need her to talk to when I put away his newborn clothes and cried looking at the tiny socks and onesies he had outgrown, or to empathize with me when news stories and even plot-lines in fiction pierced my tender mom heart in a new way, or to reassure me to always trust my fierce new instincts even if I don't understand them. I read countless articles and heard all the comments about how becoming a mother would change my relationship with my partner and even my pets, but no one prepared me for how it would change my relationship with my mom.
It isn't that I previously had no concept of my mom outside of her identity as a mother. During my childhood she attended graduate school, she held a variety of jobs, she divorced and she remarried. I've never struggled to see her as a person, but I never would have been able to grasp the way motherhood refuses to stay in its own compartment and instead reaches its tendrils into all the other parts of your life. I had been reading the actions of her character for nearly 3 decades and suddenly I was made privy to her motivation.
We always teased my mom for how much she would worry over us. We always arrived at our destinations safely, and while we tried to respect it, we didn’t understand the constant request for 'Call me when you get there' messages. She once called the police when I got lost on a hike with a friend- when I was in my 20's. And now suddenly I need her to text me just to tell me my son is safe and doing well at her house at 2 p.m. on a Thursday when I'm at work and she's watching him. I read every silly article with clickbait titles like 'Top 10 Baby Choking Hazards' and 'You Won't Believe What Sent These Kids to the Hospital.' We both read the news stories about tragedies that have befallen children, and she is the only one who indulges me in my irrational worries. And now I know why: no matter how grown up your babies are, your heart will always need that message to let you know that they have arrived safely.
Growing up, I always identified more with my father. I looked like him, I had his sense of humor, and I pursued a career path in medicine as he had. My sister was like my mom, I was like my dad. Friends saw it, strangers saw it, and none of us contested it. This season of my life has brought to light the traits that I share with her, and I have happily embraced this side of myself. I am standing at the precipice of first days of school and first birthdays and heartbreaks and sleepovers, and I am so thankful I will have her there for support and commiseration. As I raise my son I'm excited to see how my relationship with my mother continues to grow as well.