She’s an introvert.

I’m an extrovert.

She has an angelic singing voice.

Dogs run when I sing.

She loves eggplant.

I recoil at the mere smell.

She has big brown eyes.

Mine are blue.

She loves to watch old black and white movies.

I can’t sit through a 30-minute sitcom.

She’s a homebody.

I want to see the world.

She’s my mom.

Oil and water?

Maybe.

I’d argue more like toothpaste and orange juice.

I don’t know that the Lord could have produced a mother/daughter combination that was more vastly different than my mom and me.

I’m her oldest, her only daughter, her ”free-spirit,” as some might say.

I’m her strong-willed child.

I think and act like my dad. As she says, ”You and your father are always in cahoots.”

To say I’m a daddy’s girl would be the understatement of the year.

Growing up, I was definitely her challenge.

I have to imagine that raising a child whose personality you just can’t relate to is one of the most strenuous things any parent has to do.

One thing my mom and I greatly differ on is appearance. I do not believe in my 37 years on this earth I have ever seen her leave the house without her hair done and makeup perfectly applied.

I don’t know what she looked like when she went into labor with me, but I wouldn’t doubt her mascara was on point and her lipstick was reapplied every hour.

I, on the other hand . . . well, let’s say I have definitely embraced this messy bun fad and I’m a staunch supporter of the “athleisure” style.

And, makeup? Err . . . I’m at the age where a little concealer is often a necessary evil, but I mostly avoid makeup altogether.

When I was growing up, I remember picking on my mom when she would say, “I need to wash my hair.” This was code for, ”I’m going to take an extra-long time to get ready this morning, so don’t wait on me for anything.” It also meant she was taking over my bathroom for what seemed like hours on end because, while my bathroom was the older one, it had the most counter space.

Just the other day, I heard myself say those exact words to my husband as we discussed the next morning’s schedule.

”I need to wash my hair.”

Which in our house is code for, “It’s going to take me longer than usual to get ready.”

I stopped myself as I said it and just quietly smiled because I definitely heard my mom as those words came out of my mouth.

We may be like fire and ice but we are still mother and daughter—and that makes me proud.

She has always been my biggest defender, my loudest cheerleader, and the catcher of all my tears.

She was born to be a mom—and a darn good one at that.

I look back with fondness on my childhood and how she made those years so special and often magical.

So, to the mom out there staring down at your strong-willed, free-spirit of a child shaking your head: just hold on tight.

It’ll be a wild ride, but it’ll be a good one.

Yes, they’re going to test your patience a million times over.

They’re going to take risks you’d never have dreamed of taking.

There will be sleepless nights as you stare at the ceiling trying to figure them out.

You’ll take long walks mulling over how they could be so insanely different from you.

And, those things will never change.

Trust me, they’re often just as confused by your personality as you are by theirs.

At 37, they will still be your independent and bullheaded child, but it will be OK.

They’re gonna love you for letting them be them.

So, thanks, Mom, for never squelching my dreams, for fostering my independent nature (even though you didn’t understand it), and for loving me through all the bumps in the road.

It has never gone unnoticed just how much you sacrificed for your free-spirited daughter.

Oh, and yes, Mom, my hair does look like I “did it with a Mixmaster” today.

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Beth Tate

A native of New Jersey Beth moved to the DC metro area in 2004 to pursue a career in politics. After a 15 year career in politics, Beth knew The Lord was calling her to something else, something bigger, and on October 8, 2017, Beth surrendered her life to The Lord’s plan and began walking the path towards a role in Ministry. Beth is passionate about cultivating a love of Jesus Christ and a spirit of serving Him & others in women and youth. She is on staff at Battlefield Baptist Church working in both the children's and youth ministry departments. Beth is also pursuing her Master of Arts in Ministry at Piedmont International University. Beth and her husband John reside in Warrenton VA with their three rescue dogs, Charlotte, Bristol, and Marley.