I think that the following two works remind me most of how we should treat our mothers, what we learn from our mothers, what they learn from us and, if we are mothers, how we should treat our children.
Margaret Atwood "When my mother was very small, someone gave her a basket of baby chicks for Easter. They all died. 'I didn't know you weren't supposed to pick them up,' says my mother. 'Poor little things. I laid them out in a row on a board, with their little legs sticking out straight as pokers, and wept over them. I loved them to death.'" Possibly this story is meant by my mother to illustrate her own stupidity, and her own sentimentality. We are to understand she wouldn't do such a thing now. Possibly it's a commentary on the nature of love; though, knowing my mother this is unlikely."
From this story we not only get the background of the narrator's mother, but of the narrator herself as she grows and matures and begins to understand her mother's life through the stories she tells. The narrator also understands that the more she grows and matures the less her mother understands her. And, it seems to me the older I get the more I look at my mother with awe, I mean she had 30 years of life before I existed and many moments of her life do not involve me. I am in awe of her.
"Fashion nearly wrecked my life. I grew up beyond its pale, convinced that this would stunt me in some irreparable way. I don’t think it has, but for a long time it was touch and go.
We lived in the country, in the middle of an alfalfa field; we had no immediate access to Bobbie Brooks sweaters. I went to school in the hand-medowns of a cousin three years older. She had excellent fashion sense, but during the three-year lag her every sleek outfit turned to a pumpkin. In fifth grade, when girls were wearing straight shifts with buttons down the front, I wore pastel shirtwaists with cap sleeves and a multitude of built-in petticoats. My black lace-up oxfords, which my parents perceived to have orthopedic value, carried their own weight in the spectacle. I suspected people noticed, and I knew it for sure on the day Billy Stamps announced to the lunch line:
'Make way for the Bride of Frankenstein.'"
I can think of all the times in my life that my mother said, "No" in response to my desperate need for some sort of unreasonably priced something or another and I can remember thinking that my life would not be complete without said item. At almost 35, I can say that I, like Barbara Kingsolver, survived and am better for it.