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I’m turning into my mother—and I’m so grateful for that

Dear Mom,

Whew, today was another doozy. It was exhausting and hilarious and busy and lonely and sometimes all of that at once. But you know that’s how it goes when raising a toddler and a newborn—and look at us! We all survived!

In the midst of today, there were about a dozen moments I wanted to call you. That’s my first instinct: If it’s good news, I want to call you. If it’s bad news, I want to call you. If there is no news at all, I still want to call you.

Because no matter what I have to say, those few minutes on the phone with you are more about what doesn’t have to be said.

The truth is, you understand me in a unique way that my husband, children or best girlfriends never will. (Love them as I do!)

Apparently, there’s a scientific reason for that: According to a recent study, the brains of mothers and daughters, in particular, are incredibly similar when it comes to emotional processing. That suggests you can imagine how I feel about different situations and are amazingly equipped at responding in *just* the right way.

I didn’t need a study to tell me that. Through hurt knees and heartbreaks, you’ve always been there for me—even when we’re hundreds of miles apart.

In many ways, though, it feels like I now need you more than ever before. (Recalling my baby years, you may disagree.)

That’s because you’re the only one who understands not just what it means to be a mother, but what it means to be the kind of mother I aspire to be.

You say you’ve forgotten much about the early days of motherhood. As someone in the thick of sleep deprivation, I can totally understand that.

Although you don’t remember the specifics, you know how you felt. So while my husband is sympathetic to my woes about breastfeeding or the complicated emotions that go along with being a working mom, you have true empathy.

You just get me and what I’m going through. Now that I have children of my own, I feel like I understand you better, too.

Why you were always quick to buy new clothes for my sister and me, but rarely splurged on yourself.

Why you could give your all everyday—as long as you got 30 minutes to work out or have some peace.

Why you and Dad made Saturday date nights a “must do,” not a “should do.”

Why your #mombrain would cause you to say things like, “Let’s lay out the pillows” when you really meant towels. (I can guess what you wish you were doing at the time.)

Why you seemed to hurt just as much as I did when another kid was mean.

Why you prioritized having fun together and making us laugh, even if it was just by goofily kicking your leg out at the grocery store because you “felt like it.”

Now I’m that person.

For some, I hear the realization of “I’m turning into my mother” is shocking and slightly terrifying. For me, it’s a clear sign I’m on the right track.

I’ve always (really, even during those teenage years!) known I was lucky to have you as a mom—because that isn’t all you are to me. You’re my first and best friend, too.

Love always,

Your daughter

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