To Mom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Motherhood and vicious cycles are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but I want to think about this. Why? Because I can’t help but watch an unending chain of psychological patterns reinvent themselves in the mothers and grandmothers of my family. My grandmother will reminisce about raising my mom and my uncle; my mom will stare at the ceiling and try not to argue.

“She let me play in the drainage ditch - barefoot! And she told me ‘Take your little brother while you’re at it!’” Naturally, a carefree mother made my mom into a you-could-get-hepatitis-from-that-ditch kind of mother. As I grew older I was clearly able to decipher that my mom and grandmother were extremely different and butted heads on many issues.

Now I observe my older sister’s relationship with my mom. Erin is the oldest and very opinionated. She and my mom clash on lots of issues, but most recently Erin’s ripped jeans have become the focus of Mom’s feedback. My mom doesn’t understand the concept of favorite jeans being what you wear anytime, anywhere because they’re comfy and have acquired sentimental value. Mom instead longs for the plaid skirts and bright sweaters of her adolescence. This presents a huge problem and the onset of a heated verbal ping-pong match with words flying.

It’s difficult to touch on the issue of family tensions when someone could easily get hurt. My mom does her best, but sometimes her involvement pushes us away, which is only natural. Though I know eventually I’ll want to do the same for my family, I can’t help but wonder whether one of my sisters will mimic my grandmother’s laid-back policies in reaction to the tight grasp our mother has on our lives. My grandmother was rarely there for my mom, and at the same time it is reassuring to know that my mom, because of that, will always be there for us.

When my grandmother had brain surgery last year, we watched to see how my mom would react. She was hurt and scared; I don’t even think she knew what to feel, because now she suddenly had to support her long-absent parent. It was obviously a conflict for her, going to therapy sessions and seeing her mother so ill. Sometimes my mom would react with outbursts toward our own family. It was a really difficult time that highlighted just how complicated the mother-daughter relationship can be.

However the story ends and no matter who comes and goes, mothers always play a major and unique role in their children’s life, whether they’re home or not, positive or negative. As each day brings new challenges for my parents, I continue to appreciate their efforts and sacrifices to be good parents. I know when we have disputes and I’m angry I take all the better times for granted.

Through it all, I’m finally beginning to give my mom credit, though the jeans thing is a bit ridiculous. All the little things, as well as the vicious cycles, are eventually overwhelmed by simply being devotedly loved, and that’s a really nice feeling.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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