If you put baby photos of my mom and I side by side, it is hard to tell who is who. We had such similar features as infants, and even now, the resemblance is uncanny. The same big smiles, the same chocolatey-brown eyes, the same perfectly manicured eyebrows (thank you, Mom). There is no denying that I am my mother’s daughter.
I remember so many positive experiences as a child; there was an outpouring of love from my mom that never ceased. And she always tried to find the joy.
She lived for her craft room and DIY, taking every opportunity to sew or paint whatever project she had just seen in her Country Living magazine, to plan a Pinterest-worthy party where everything was homemade. She enjoyed having a group of girlfriends over to the house, meeting the new neighbors, or greeting guests at church. Friends of mine affectionately called her ‘Mama Kris’ because of they way she treated them as her own. She loved making people feel like they were special, especially if it meant she could cook or bake her way into their hearts.
And she was a true servant. She put everyone else’s needs ahead of her own, never seeking praise or recognition.
As I got older, I tried to find things I was passionate about the way my mom was. During the first few years of college, I discovered a love of event planning. I enjoyed the details and the heartfelt work that went into creating someone’s perfect wedding or party. My roommates and I became expert hosts, too, shifting away from the typical undergrad party to throw a themed dinner or invite everyone over for a game night. I also became very active with my church, welcoming guests as they visited for the first time, sharing openly within a small group of women. I loved the opportunity to learn about people’s stories. After college, I found myself seeking out ways to volunteer and engage with my community. I wanted to give back, but not at the level of board member or committee chair; I wanted to be in the trenches.
It all sounds so similar to another woman I know….
And then there was a moment at my son’s birthday party last fall that it hit me. I watched as my mom set up a display of all her handcrafted fox masks and woodland scavenger hunt items. I heard her laughter from across the room, loud and unfiltered. I looked at the way she interacted with guests, casually touching them on the arm or shoulder, a way to show she was connected and engaged. I saw her float from the table to the counter to the floor, quickly sweeping up empty plates or crumbs without anyone really noticing.
I realized that all of the things I noticed about my mom were qualities I had found in myself.
But there is one important difference. My mom does all of them better than I do. I am becoming my mother, but I am far from filling her shoes.
It’s amazing how having children of your own gives you clarity. There are times in every day when I wonder how my mom did it all – how she found the creativity, the passion, the humility while raising three kids. These moments allow me to see how blessed I am to share any of those characteristics with her. In my mind, she sets the standard of what a mom can be; in fact, there are many times when I believe Braden and Brynn feel this way too. They adore spending time with her, and will often remind me of this after she leaves with tears in their eyes, calling out for Noni.
Some women may say they are nothing like their mothers. But the truth is, I want to be like my mom. I would be honored to even come close.
And even though I am similar to her in so many ways, I have a long way to go before I achieve Mama-Kris status.
For now, I’m just grateful to be her daughter.