Ever since my teenage years I’ve heard it.
“You’re just like your mother.”At first, I didn’t want to believe it. The comments came in droves from her friends.
Then, I made my situation worse by cutting my hair. I didn’t realize until after the fact that I had cut it short – just like hers. Then I would go out into the community where Mom was known by one and all.
“Oh, you look just like her!”
It was a sweet gesture, but I didn’t want to be like Mom. What teen does?
It was normal for me to get these comments, I suppose. Our faces were similar, our heights, our personalities. But there was no way!
Then as I got older, the comments shifted a little. We would have mother-daughter dates and strangers would make their own assumptions.
“She’s your mother? I thought you were sisters!”
Mom was always flattered. She’s always looked younger than her age, but it was still strange for me to hear.
Many times I would speak to complete strangers who would say, “You look so familiar.”
“You probably know my mom,” I would say. And they did.
Mom was known for her success in life. She lived through so much, raising four children, having her own business. I was so proud of her, but I wanted to stand out on my own, apart from her.
Each comment made was another moment in her shadow. I would always be “her daughter.” For once I wanted to be known for something I had done. I wanted to be known as Janna, a successful, unique individual – not my mother’s daughter.
But as time went on, I realized that being compared to her was nothing to look down upon. I realized that when people compared me to her, they weren’t putting me down as an individual; they were pointing out Mom’s good qualities reflected in me.
I realized how bless I was to have a Mom who was successful, whose name was known throughout the community. It wasn’t a handicap, it was an advantage. When she grew her reputation as a businesswoman, she grew my reputation as her daughter.
Everything I knew, I owed to her. She taught me to be professional, have confidence, maintain manners. It was no wonder we had so much in common.
I realized I didn’t have to try harder to be unique. I was unique. She taught me to be unique. She taught me to be successful. Being compared to her was just about the greatest thing that could happen to me.
Now when people make their comments, I just smile.
“You are just like your mother.”
“Why, thank you. I am.”