More than a mother

More than a mother

by marlies|dekkers

What is it like to have a mother who is more than a mother? I asked my own daughter Zilver (20) and realized: it takes more than a daughter.

Marlies: Zilver, what is it like to have me as your mother?

Zilver: (laughing) Oh boy, where do I start?

Marlies: Well first of all, how would you describe me?

Zilver: You know what you want. You are sweet yet supremely confident. But most importantly: you feel like home. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be your daughter, even though you were never a ‘typical’ mother.

Marlies: In what way was I not ‘typical’?

Zilver: You always had so many other things going on: your career, your passions. Then again, I had NO idea that you were as successful as you were! When I see videos now of all your interviews and big shows from that period, I think: ‘Oh my god, you did all that on the side?’

Marlies: I think that’s a good thing; I didn’t want to burden you with the pressures of my job. To give you an example: whenever we opened a new store, I would reserve one dressing room and fill it up with your toys and books. This way, you could come along and still have your own identity. Oh, I’m having a flash-back now! Do you remember my fashion show in Paris?

Zilver: Yes, that time I bum-rushed the stage! I must have been 4 or 5 and was so fed up with having to share you with all these people. You took your bow after the show -looking like some gorgeous exotic bird- and I just charged at you from the audience. I pushed you over and sat on top of you and yelled: ‘This is my mama! MY mama!’.

Marlies: I rushed through the interviews afterwards because I knew you really needed me then. Perhaps not the most professional move, but when we were dancing together at the after party, I felt like the whole world could go to hell. It was just you and me.

‘’I realize that by showing me how to be your mother, you enabled me to be more than a mother.’’

-Marlies to Zilver

Zilver: You weren’t annoyed at all?

Mrlies: No! I felt blessed to have a daughter who could so clearly indicate her boundaries. You never abused your power and I always respected your needs. We had a mutual understanding. Neelie Smit Kroes (a very successful Dutch politician and businesswoman, red.) once described to me how she walked out of one of the most important debates of her life because her son called. “I knew he would only call if he really needed me. So I didn’t hesitate.” Well, neither did I.

Zilver: You always took me seriously, it’s true. Even when I was 8 and I asked you to wear ‘mom jeans’ so you would look more like a ‘normal’ mom…

Marlies: I am so glad I only had to wear those horrid jeans for 4 days!

Zilver: I missed you! You didn’t look like you anymore! But you were willing to change for me, and that meant the world to me. Like that time that I asked you to do more ‘mama-things’, starting with a shower together followed by a tuck-in every Wednesday evening. I also wanted you to cook more; I was sick of going out for dinner.

Marlies: You were about 10 years old, and I remember literally clearing my agenda for those showers. I also worked extra late – often till 11 pm – on the nights you spent with your father, so that when you stayed with me, I could be home early.

Zilver: Those are some of my fondest memories.

Marlies: I feel the same way! You know, I initially did those things for you. But looking back, those were perhaps the happiest moments of my life. I realize that by showing me how to be your mother, you enabled me to be more than a mother. I can’t thank you enough, Zilver.

Zilver: (winks): Well for starters, you could lend me your Chanel jacket.

Marlies: (laughing): Never!

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