I recently realized Tori Amos and I have a couple of things in common. She was born August 22, 1963. I was born August 25, 1963. Tori became a mom when she was 37. I also became a mom at 37.
But then we have our differences.
Amos reportedly based her latest album—particularly the song, “Promise,” on her difficulty in embracing 50. To help her overcome that crisis, her daughter Natashya, 13, challenged her by saying: “If you don’t get your head around this and you don’t go rock as hard as you did 20 years ago, what is your message to me, mom? You’re telling me that 50 isn’t as powerful as 30.” So Amos promised her daughter that she´d do it. Now she´s back on stage, performing two-hour concerts at the piano. Her duet “Promise” with her daughter is a powerful song with thought-provoking and inspiring lyrics.
On the other hand, I launched this website, Viva Fifty, because I was thrilled to turn 50. I had rebuilt myself personally and professionally after a tough downturn that included divorce, unemployment, poverty and even welfare. Being responsible for my daughters, now 13 and 10, made me a stronger, more powerful and determined woman. In our case, I´m the one telling my kids that 50 is not too old and that it´s certainly not too late. Both my girls walked me down the aisle earlier this year. I´ve shown them that even later in life, you can love and trust again.
Our own “Promise” video sums up our life and our relationship today.
Yes, I know, mother-daughter relationships can look picture perfect online, but then there´s reality.
My eldest, Chloe, is at that age when singing in front of a camera isn’t her idea of a good time. And when I asked my youngest, Alexia, what statement best represented her feelings for me, she said candidly: “That when I say ‘I hate you,’ I still love you.” I laughed. It took some prompting to get the “Thank you for not making me wear matching socks,” statement that closes the video. Those words represent the freedom I give her to express herself, while working together on taming her temper tantrums before she grows older.
Also Read: Dealing With Menopause and My Two-Year Old
When I think of what´s in store for us: the boyfriends I may not like, the mistakes they will both make, the trouble they could get into, the differences of opinion we’ll have … I wonder how we’ll deal with it all. Thinking back to my own teenage years, I shudder. I know I’m kind of lucky to be alive and that I gave my family a handful of gray hairs with my behavior.
All I ask of my kids is that they promise one thing: to do what it takes to make them happy, “but whatever happens, don’t lie to me.” And it thrills me to hear my eldest say to to her friends, “Oh, you can tell my mom. Really, you can tell her anything.” I cherish it now, because as a grown-up, I’m not sure that feeling will last forever.
Right now, my daughters like me best when I´m most vulnerable—when I get up in the morning, without makeup, without my contact lenses, wearing glasses, with my hair messed up. “You’re the prettiest mommy,” they say.
Today, my favorite time with them is when we’re curled up in bed at night, tired, half-asleep, cuddling. That´s when they´re most vulnerable. “I wish you would never grow up,” I say.
While they deal with puberty, I face menopause. As they are budding, I´m in full bloom. This is our mother-daughter dance, the relationship in which a mom´s love, patience and understanding has to conquer all because in parenting, failure is not an option.
What will it all be like tomorrow? I don’t know, but for now this is my promise to my daughters: to love them no matter what, and to support their dreams, always, even if at some point they break their promises to me.
[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for One2One Network, these are my personal thoughts on the topic of mother-daughter relationships. My involvement in this project was a labor of love and my daughters and I were thrilled to be a part of it.]