One evening last summer, I sat watching my mother help my two-year-old pick apples. The humidity of the scorching midwestern day was just starting to fade as the sun sank lower into the field behind them, turning the sky a hazy shade of crimson.
There, my own mother—the one who patched my wounds, wiped my tears and put up with me even through all the years I stormed out on her—held my daughter up in the air as her little hands reached to grasp the high-hanging fruit. Later, they walked around hand-in-hand, picking up those that had already fallen yet were still worthy of keeping. They were laughing together with authenticity as my daughter’s pigtails bounced around loosely in the setting sun.
Soon the seafoam-colored collection bucket, adorned with a large orange fish and likely containing remnants of its last play date with the sandbox, was overflowing with the crisp, ripe fruits. My daughter, small yet determined, held onto the handle tightly. Leaning to the right from its weight, she shuffled to show me with pride.
They had filled the bucket.
Watching them left me overflowing with gratitude for my own life growing up. Both of my parents were there for me through good and bad, and my father remains one of my closest allies to this day. Sitting there that evening, though, witnessing my mother pick apples with her granddaughter—a daughter I had created—made me realize how strong-willed a woman must be to raise another in her image.
I hope I’m able to be there for my daughter like she was for me. Too many times in my past, I cried wolf, took advantage and sprinted ahead when I should have been walking. Too many times, I called names, showed up unprepared and believed I was both entitled and infallible. My fickle attitude at adolescence carried into my young adult years, and I’m not proud of that.
But she never let me go.
All along, she’s been lifting me up, filling my bucket with acceptance and teaching me that even the fruit on the ground can be worth saving if you give it a chance.
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This post was written by Jessica Burdg exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.