I recently found myself in the midst of an interesting conversation with a friend. The conversation began like this: “Since I’ve gotten married, I really feel like I understand my mother better.”
It took a minute for this statement to sink in before she released a stuttering, “Wh-h-h-a-a-t????”
I know; at first glance, the statement doesn’t make sense. But let it sink in a bit, and maybe it will hold more relevance for you. Or maybe you understand the meaning immediately. Either way, allow me to elaborate…
Throughout my life, I have played the typical role of a true Daddy’s girl. He has been my best friend, my pal, my protector, and my mentor. Professionally, my father is a coach. When I was a little girl, he coached football. Have you ever seen Remember the Titans? Do you remember Sheryl, the ambitious daddy’s girl and full-time supporter of her coach-father? Little Hayden Panettiere couldn’t have depicted me better. I have always been cautious of putting a person on a pedestal, but as far as I was concerned, my daddy was perched high atop that pedestal on the day I was born; why try to drag him down?
Naturally, my mom was my dad’s sidekick. Bless her heart; she set a model for me of lady-like, southern etiquette, and I would have probably been far more grateful for her example at the time, had I not been so concerned with my next daddy-daughter venture. My mother was notorious for phrases such as “Yes, you do have to wear panty-hose to church,” or “You shouldn’t blow on your soup,” and let’s not forget the “Don’t-touch-a single-thing-in-this-store-
Mom held her ground, though. That’s an impressive feat, because I was not the easiest child to manage most of the time. Throughout the years, our relationship was there, existing. However, once I got married, I noticed an almost-instantaneous shift in my perspective toward my mom. Suddenly, a million little things about her made sense in my mind. The child who once asked “Why do we even bother folding sheets? We’ll just wrinkle them up on the beds anyway…” is now excited about having a linen closet. Pottery Barn catalogs are stacked under my coffee table instead of Vogue. To make matters worse, the last time I walked into Kirklands, I saw more than a few things that would look perfect in our home. I call my mom to discuss home-making issues because, let’s face it: there are some things Coach just can’t discuss.
Most importantly, in those moments in which my days feel overwhelmed with too many to-do’s and I feel stretched too thin, I am comforted by the example set by the woman who has walked those steps countless times before me. I am not surprised when life feels stressful. I can resist the urge to fall completely apart when it all just becomes too much. Somehow, this Daddy’s Girl heard her mom clearly when she said there would be days like this…
And I carry on, just like she does.
Leslie Tally currently resides in Saltillo, Mississippi with her newly-wed husband and their dog, Braxton. She teaches first grade in a public elementary school. In addition, she is an avid reader, writer, and lover of all things creative. You can find Leslie and her “teacher tales” at The Tally Tales.