If you scrolled through my recent text messages with my mother, you would see discussion of, but not limited to, the following: emojis, the difficulties of curling hair, Holly Hunter's agelessness, the cost of therapy, the merits of the iPhone 5s and nutella. Ours is a relationship that spans a myriad of interests.
My mom and I have always been close, but over the last decade I grew up. I went from being a teenager, living in my parents' house in the suburbs, to a (mostly) adult woman with a financially stable career and her own apartment in Brooklyn. And as anyone who has made the transition from needy teen to independent grownup knows, your role as a daughter changes right along with you during those formative years.
We spend a lot of time talking about motherhood every May -- and with good reason -- but the experience of daughterhood, especially when one's parents are still alive, remains less-explored territory. (Perhaps that's because we don't get to choose to be daughters.)
Here are six things I've learned about being a daughter during my 20s:
1. You need to recognize that your mom is a real person.
In Nora Ephron's 2006 book I Feel Bad About My Neck, she writes: "And the story is always the same: the younger woman idolizes the older woman; she stalks her; the older woman takes her up; the younger woman finds out the older woman is only human; the story ends." Except when the older woman is your mother, the story never ends. So get on board with your mom's humanity, flaws and all. Once you do, you'll probably love her even more completely.
2. It pays to be independent, but consulting your mom about important (and not-so-important) decisions is never a bad thing.
I might not depend on my mother financially anymore, but having her on speed-dial really comes in handy when I need a third-party ear to listen to frustrations I'm having at work or talk about the mediocre OKCupid date I went on, or when I just want someone to tell me that it really is alright to buy myself a new pair of jean shorts. And she enjoys our frequent conversations, too -- no matter how panic-induced or silly they might be.
3. Showing your appreciation means even more now than it did when you were a kid.
When you're living under the same roof as your parents, you have them reminding you about every birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day and anniversary. But once you're out of the house, sending a gift or a card -- or simply picking up the phone to show how much you love them goes a very long way. Even your mom needs reassurance that you care about her and that she didn't totally f**k up that whole parenting thing.
4. You can develop a wonderful friendship with your mom, but she will never be your "best friend."
There is something sacred about the mother-daughter relationship, no matter how many heart-to-heart conversations you have or how many parts of herself your mom reveals to you. There will likely always be a differentiation between the way you speak to your mother and the way you speak to your peers (and vice versa). And that's a very good thing. You can have many best friends, but only a finite number of moms.
5. You might be very similar to your mother, but you are not an extension of her.
Part of growing up is learning to disagree with your parents and to say "no" when necessary and set boundaries in your relationship. Ultimately, this is a good thing for both of you.
6. You start to realize just how hard your mom worked being your mother.
One day, maybe during your 20s, you wake up and realize that your mom gave birth to you at the same age you are now -- and that you can't even imagine taking on that sort of responsibility at this moment in your life. (Seriously, motherhood sounds really challenging.)
So thanks for raising me, mom. You did a pretty damn good job.
For more in HuffPost Women's Mother's Day series...
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