“I have become my mother.” I often hear women my age (over 50) and women who are younger say that. Sometimes they say it jokingly, sometimes they say it disparagingly.
They almost always say, “I have become my mother,” like it’s a bad thing.
Maybe it is a bad thing…if you had a mother who lacked good qualities.
That, however, was not my experience. Perhaps other women (both over 50 and under 50) had mothers who lacked good qualities. I did not.
When I say, “I have become my mother”, I am hopeful that I have, in some good way, emulated her.
I had a very good mother. I aspire to be as much like her as I can be. I fall short every day.
Mildred Viola Martin Browning was a good woman, a good friend to those who were fortunate enough to know her. She was a faithful, loving daughter to her own parents. She spoke highly of her own mother. She was the middle child of five and her love for her three sisters and baby brother never wavered. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother. Her love for her offspring never wavered either.
Mama was a good wife and helpmate to my father. Together, they made a living by farming in the Joy Community. My mother was an excellent farmer. When she was asked to describe herself, she would say, “I am a farmer.” In her opinion, being a farmer summed up her life.
It sums it up in my opinion as well. I believe that being a farmer is the purest calling in life. If you can farm, you can do anything and everything.
I believed my mother could do anything and everything, too. She was not boastful about her abilities. She simply did what was required of her lifestyle. And she did it well.
When I came of age during the era of women’s liberation, I wondered what all the fuss was about.
Equality was not a question in our home. My mother could do anything my father did and more. She did not do it with pride or arrogance. She did it with quiet grace and aplomb.
Mama could work hard in the fields, then come to the house and harvest the crops from her garden and use them to cook our meals. She sewed our clothing, washed all the laundry, kissed all the scraped knees, raised chickens and gathered their eggs and wrung their necks, milked the cow and fed the hogs, put three meals on the table every single day and then told us a bedtime story before turning out the lights and saying “Good night. I love you very much.”
Mama was more than equal. And my Daddy affirmed it again and again to us. He did not undermine her authority; he demanded that we respect her. He showed his children how to do that by loving and respecting her himself.
My mother was kind. She was firm but gentle. She was a great storyteller. She was an excellent farmer.
She loved her family – her husband, parents, children, sisters and brother, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They all loved her, too.
My mother is the best example of fulfilling womanhood that I can summon. If someone were to tell me, “Peggy, you are just like your mother,” I would be flattered and pleased. I would be honored to even come close.
“I have become my mother” are words I would be proud to say.
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln