I do not believe, as is common, that age brings with it wisdom; my mother (and consequently, myself) are bright examples of how time does not cure the tendency to make irrational decisions. When I was a small child, I saw my mother as the brightest star in the evening sky; she was my light, my direction, my goddess. Any mistakes or unintelligent decisions she made were, in my mind, exempt from ridicule; being my mother, she was, of course, the epitome of perfection.
Drawing closed the blinds of my childhood, I grew into the realization that my mother, as all others, was a flawed creature; her brilliant red hair came from a plastic bottle from the second aisle of the supermarket, and correspondingly, so did her self-worth. As I aged, it was forced upon me the degree to which she placed value in appearance; no test score could bring joy into her eyes the way it did when I placed aside twenty extra minutes in the morning to curl my hair and apply a touch of mascara.
My mother seemed to embrace my teenage years. At the time, her enthusiasm perplexed me; in a way, it still does. Time has allowed me to contemplate her mentality to infinite degrees, however, and it is my firm belief that my experience of youth allowed her to relive her own, pushing me to be the daring and firm young woman she hadn't succeeded in being at such a time in her own life.
We were, in our own ways, entrancingly beautiful; my mother saw beauty in herself by the wave into which her hair naturally fell, the soft, slick curve of her eyelids, the light, rough freckles that spastically dotted her light cheeks. I, too, found these to be the qualities in which she possessed the most astonishing quantities of beauty; the fact that she took pride in her physical features accentuated my realization that they were truly the most radiant part of her. In myself, my mother saw a subdued, straw-haired, rosy-cheeked child whose potential for beauty was infinite, but wasted by her lack of enthusiasm and effort. It remains true; the effort with which I attend to my appearance each day is, in fact, abysmal. However, in myself, I saw other delicate and wonderful qualities that she did not take the care to notice: my patience, eye for design, and bold opinions were what I considered, personally, to be redeemingly beautiful.
Over the years, my mother and I gradually grew apart, time and distance only being incremental factors of our separation. The main wall that was contrived was the result of our wide and insurmountable differences, and though I was intent on its construction, I admit I was quite disappointed when she, too, appeared unscathed by it.
We were much closer when I was a child, but I do not remember a time when, in all honestly, I truly loved her. Kisses were soft traditions from infanthood, with no depth to their light touches; hugs were warm and soft, but of no connection to each other. It seems, in my mind, as if I was always acting out expected actions, performing in a role that was never quite in sync with my mentality. There was something lacking in our relationship that has grown even more evident over the years: mutual love.
I have no doubt that my mother loved having a child; it was evident in her frequent smiles, photographs, comforting words. Oftentimes, however, I find myself lost in grey memories and enveloped by hovering curiosities of whether she loved me at all. Her actions would suggest so, having continually nurtured me, doted on me, held me close; however, the impersonality of these motions drives me to question whether she did hold love for me in her heart, or whether she possessed solely the love of being a mother.