With a Conscience -- 'Our Mother's Daughters'

January 26, 2015 1:23 AM

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I was 4. My mother, "Ma," was fighting a cold and was lying down in her bedroom, nearly asleep. I felt so badly that she wasn't feeling well that I decided, at 4 years of age, that I would heat up some chicken that was in the fridge. We had one of those gas stoves, which needed matches to light the oven. So I turned the oven on like I had watched Ma do so many times. The gas came on and then I lit the stove. "Boooooooom!" Explosion. An explosion so loud it woke Ma up and well... she ran into the kitchen, frantic, yelling. "Claudia! What happened?" My eyebrows and eyelashes were singed. I cried inconsolably. I really wasn't clear as to what happened. I was most likely in shock. This was the first time I had ever heard my mother yell, and yell she did. I had frightened her beyond any fear she had felt in a very long time. At 4 years old, I didn't understand why she was so frantic. Now I do. Mothers, good mothers, spend most of their lives trying to protect their children and when we, as daughters, do things that are out of our mother's control, they get scared.

Then decades later, the tables turn. Our mothers, our parents age. Some age better than others, like Ma, but age they do, and then it is our turn to be scared. We watch these incredibly tough, strong, sometimes difficult personalities fight the aging process. They want their independence and they st...

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