I thought about how confident my mother was. I thought about how few knew how vulnerable she really was inside, insecure, like all of us. Her confidence was her behavior. She was brave as hell. She taught herself to behave with confidence and it took her far. Humor and compliments bridged gaps. If ever there were gaps.
As a teenager I watched her win people over with a kind of magic that I held contempt for. Was she sincere? Did she mean everything she said to everyone? Did she mean what she said to me? I felt not and so I blew her off, rolling my eyes at her when she complimented me. She hated that. She said I needed to learn how to take a compliment. I thought she loved me blindly and she would say anything to make me feel good. Why I held that effort in such contempt, I do not fully understand. I didn't trust that her inflated sense of esteem for me was an accurate reflection of who I was.
Now that I am a mother, myself, I see that my mother was trying to mold me into that which she strove to master, herself. She wanted me to hold my head up high and duplicate what she had taken years to master. She wanted to pass on the best of herself, to me. She wanted me to be able to benefit from her "modeling" confidence, if you will. I would do the same for my children. I will be aware, however, of the distrust that I could easily create, if ever my sentiments are taken as insincere.
Looking back, I'm finally able to appreciate what my mother saw in me. I'm able to see myself through her eyes and that's exactly what she would have wanted.