In the mornings after my sons would leave for school and my husband had left for work, I’d pour myself a cIup of coffee and sit in my kitchen reading the paper. My daughter would always come and sit on the stool next to me.
“Mami, can I have some coffee?” she asked me one day. I poured some warm milk into a mug and a drop of coffee, just enough to make the milk look darker, and handed it to her. We sat there for a while quietly enjoying our morning coffee when she turned to me and said, “Somos dos amigas tomando café.” We’re two friends drinking coffee.
“Yes we are,” I said, leaning over and giving her a kiss on the forehead.
Already at the age of four she understood that although I was her mother I could also be her friend. Many mothers and daughters don’t get along. They love each other, but somehow they never really get to know each other.
A child has no sense of what her relationship with her mother should be like, so when I see mothers and daughters that don’t get along, I always wonder what happened. As the adults, we must reach out to our children. It’s up to us to develop close relationships with our daughters.
When I think back on my childhood, I can always remember my mother being there for me, not only during important events in my life but on a daily basis in small ways.
One of my favorite things to do as a child was to sit on the kitchen counter and watch my mother cook. We would have wonderful conversations with the soft chirping of the pressure cooker in the background and the smell of black bean soup seeping from the pot.
“When a young girl has a good relationship with her mother, she gains a life-long friend.”
When my family came from Cuba, my parents could not afford to buy our clothes, so my mother had no choice but to learn how to sew. I can still picture her in front of her sewing machine, the dining room table covered with patterns and different color fabric. On Saturdays she would always have something simple for me to do. She taught me how to mend my clothes, and I learned about life from all of our long talks.
My mother always knew when to be my mother and when to be my friend. Unless you allow your daughter to know you as a person, you will never be able to develop a close relationship with her.
Some women put themselves way above their daughters, so far from reach that no matter how much a child tries to be close to them, they always end up feeling alienated and misunderstood.
When a young girl has a good relationship with her mother, she gains a life-long friend. Mothers give sustenance and courage to their daughters. The nurturing they receive from their mothers is the thread that holds together generations of families.
Where would I have found maternal wisdom if I hadn’t had my mother by my side guiding me through the stages of motherhood?
When I look at my daughter and think of all the things she will have to go through in life, I can’t imagine not being by her side.
From my mother I learned that the bridges of love must be built from the first moment you hold your child. A mother-daughter relationship is not something built from a quick kiss or an occasional hug but from daily love and understanding.
God blessed me with a daughter who will someday grow up to be a mother. I will pass on to her all the love her grandmother bestowed on me, and within her my mother’s love will live on.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter
@PowerOfFamily or contact her at her Web site at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.