Over the past year and a half that I’ve lived in Phnom Penh, living life adjacent to my mom’s who paved our way into The Charming City, I’ve learned a lot about our relationship, our strengths, weaknesses, and more than anything- our deep seeded love for each other.
It seems fitting that I write this post on Mother’s Day but I feel these things all year round, think about her every day, and know how truly lucky I am to be her kin. She’s in the United States right now flitting between Georgia, Oregon, and Washington to visit family, friends, and everyone in between. To reconnect with my little sister, to mourn the death of my great grandmother, to be in the lives of everyone that misses her so dearly, and then on an entirely random note- run the ranch she grew up on. Yes, she’s a multi talented woman: she can lasso a calf AND cut her own hair AND decorate an entire hotel AND bake an award winning pie AND make a cat teepee AND teach an entire Sunday school class by herself. Her whole trip will last a month and a half and her presence is deeply missed by many from the amount of times people ask how long she’ll be gone for. We usually attend work related networking events together and one of us will hear “Oh you’re Anna’s mom!” or “You’re Sheila’s daughter!” and we love it. I love the surprised expressions we get when we’re introduced as family, then the sudden realization that it makes sense that we’re family because there are many things we do in similar ways. But then again, I have blonde hair and Asian eyes and she’s British Cherokee something or other. I’ve missed her at the last AmCham event and basically every other day too.
I took one of those silly tests on Buzzfeed the other day asking “Which TV Mother Daughter Combo Are You?” and we got the Gilmore Girls mom and daughter (I’ve never seen the show so it was a bit irrelevant) but basically said something along the lines of “you actually choose to spend time with each other because you’re true friends but when you fight, it’s intense”. All true.
Before she left for her trip, she and I had our first argument in a long, long time. Not really a fight but lots of emails exchanged, frustrated and torn projected emotions and lunches with teary broccoli soup. We had reopened old wounds that maybe we thought were healed, but are still raw and explored new ones that are irritating, confusing, and painful in various aspects. We’re both extremely protective of each other, and we both see things happening in each others lives that we aren’t happy about or feel are ‘off’ and had to address it. Whether it be the people she allows in her life or her viewpoints on how I live mine, we will always have our opinions but the way we express them to each other have matured and changed into something generally more nurturing than bristly.
Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate our moms, in all ways, shapes, and forms. While I read the dozens of “thank you so much for loving me mom” and “you’re the best mother in the world” and appreciate the comments and posts on Facebook, it makes me realize how strong my personal connection is with my mom, the great Sheila Mischke, how on par on the playing field we feel in so many areas, and how brutally honest we can be with each other. So while of course I am grateful for her infinite love for me I am also grateful for her questioning, her ability to recognize failures in the past- both on my part and hers-, her strength and willingness to say “no” when she feels like something isn’t right, the mercy she extends to not only me but almost all those around her, her patience with me as I learn to be less in some areas and more in others, the acceptance that even now she has lessons to be learned and that we’re just getting through this mess of a world together, and her willingness to bear my weights along with hers. I think in all, those things truly encompass a strong, tested, true love- the good, the bad, the ugly, and above all- the reality of a relationship between a mother and a daughter.