This article was originally published on Better After 50.
My mother is fiercely independent, and if she has her way (and I know she will die trying) she will always take care of herself. Still, the mother/daughter relationship changes for us lucky ones who still have our mothers at mid-life. Being a 25-, 35-, or even a 45-year-old daughter is a lot different than being a 55-year-old one. We are better after 50 because we finally know who we are, yet we continue to learn. Here's what I have learned about being a daughter in my 50s (that I just didn't pick up on earlier).
- Because I am at an age where I have finally accepted who I am, I've learned to totally accept my mother for who she is. I can finally say, "hey, that's just my mom..."
- I've learned to forgive my mother's mistakes (I have made many of those very same mistakes-and many worse).
- I've learned I will probably never hear my mother say, "wow, your hair looks awesome!"
- I'm learning (it's a process...) to say, "I'm sorry that bothers you," in response to criticism, without taking the criticism to heart.
- I've learned that there are many ways for both of us to say I love you without actually saying, "I love you." Not everything has to be verbalized.
- I've learned that my mother has a quality of life below which she passionately believes living is not really living, and that any one else's opinion about that is completely irrelevant.
- I've learned that it is really important to have your mother sign a living will, and that you should know where it is.
- I've learned that we all need to encourage our mothers to shred and throw out the stacks of paper around the house. As my friend the estate planning attorney so eloquently put it to my mother: "if you don't get rid of these piles, here is what your kids are going to be saying as they go through your stuff: 'F%&k my mother, f%&k my mother' .... is that what you want?"
- I've learned that one's health is everything.
- I've learned that one can actually become more patient as one ages.
- I've learned that it is important to respond to requests for help with the same loving attitude and tone that my mother responded to my requests for help with my children 20 years ago: "I'd be happy to..."
- I've learned that texts and email are simply value add -- they do not substitute for a phone call.
- I've learned not to be shocked about my mother needing a nap.
- I've learned you have to have a plan for dying, and even so, that God might have a different plan.
- I've learned about resilience in the face of disease.
- After years of trying, I've learned that I will never be able to replicate my mom's chicken soup.
- I've learned that the grandmother who breaks through the age barrier of technology never feels disconnected and lonely.
- I've learned there is a brisket in the freezer of my childhood home designated for my mother's shiva.
- I've learned that when I don't want to eat as much as I do now, and I lose weight without trying, it's probably not a good thing.
- I've learned how to get to my father's gravesite on my own.
- I've learned from seeing my mother go from blond to natural gray, that gray can be absolutely beautiful.
- I've learned how to be an awesome grandmother to adult children
- I've learned that my mother has pre-paid for her casket.
- I've learned that since I'm a clone of my mother, I will still look pretty good as I approach 80, and I will probably finally lose my big tush.
- I've learned that while my mother is shrinking in stature, the shoes I will have to fill some day are just as big as ever.
For more in HuffPost Women's Mother's Day series...