You sound like a lot of women I know who misunderstood their true hair texture because of roller setting, pulling hair back or (like my Mom) trying to get their short, curly hair to go more bouffant -and yes, it did look pretty cute on her. Even my husband thought his hair was simply "unruly" until I told him no, it's wavy/curly!
It's like getting a really great birthday present, no? You got the curls you always wanted. Very happy for you!
I think your hair was waiting for you to recognize it for what it is and I think you'll have some fun learning to wear it wavy/curly and how to take very good care of it with gentle shampoos, conditioner, and very little brushing or rough handling.
This could be a fun mother-daughter thing... learning to go curly.
What fun! Come check out the wavy (2s) board and introduce yourself!