Mother’s Day can be an emotional day for many.
Some mothers have lost children, some children have lost their mothers, and some of us, like myself, have had strained or broken relationships with their moms over the years.
Lately, as I have made some life choices, opting to make my next 50 years more memorable, I have worked on building a new capacity with my estranged mother.
And, it has been okay.
Better than okay, actually. I sent her a Happy Mothers Day message to her and we had a chat through Facebook Messenger for a few moments.
I Made a Choice to “Try” to be a Daughter.
The history with my parents has been rocky since I was a young child. There was abuse, addiction, and alcoholism in my family, that resulted in my father spending time in jail when I was an adult and a mother myself. I went through the process of “outing” the abusers in my family, in hopes of protecting my daughter and my 5 nieces.
It was effective, yet it caused a negative domino effect within our family, that I have had to live with.
My mother was not sent to jail, nor did I believe that she deserved to. However, she was not a successful parent to me or to my sister. She simply didn’t know how to be a mom, while she was married to an abusive alcoholic.
So, while I have been undergoing various new life decisions, I made a decision to “try” to be a daughter to my aging parents.
My best friend and I broke the ice, while I was back home visiting my sister. I messaged my mother and asked if she had coffee on, and told her I would be stopping by for a quick visit. I had my best friend in tow, for support, in case shit went emotionally sideways.
Monster is Now “Mother”
I was nervous as hell when I parked my car in front of my parents small home. I felt my soul shake, as I walked up to their door.
As I opened it, a woman stood before me that I no longer recognized as the terrifying woman she once was. She is thin. Very thin. As she hugged me I could feel her frail bones beneath my hands and arms. Dangling from her nose is a long, clear oxygen tube that is attached to 100 feet of hose throughout her home. She is now a tiny, older woman, who seems fragile and not scary to me at all.
My father is the same. I am still unable to look into his eyes, as it causes flashbacks, and his hands still scare me, but he, too is a fragile old man, who wears suspenders to keep his pants up and has a head full of wispy grey hair.
As intimidating as he once was, and can be if I allow, he is also an old man who lives his life through his lapdog and his evenings of playing cards and Mexican Train with his friends at “the club”.
Neither of them drinks alcohol anymore, and they are both oddly content, in their 63 years of marriage. It is astounding that their love for each other survived so many years of madness and bad decisions together.
I have always missed having a true mom, and over the years, I have had substitutes to mentor me to become a good mother, wife and person.
The substitutes I have had, my mother in law, my friends, and even some of my friends’ mothers have made me who I am. My mother has made me who I am not. And up until now, that has worked in my favor.
Without having my mother in my life, my daughter missed out on having a Grandma. She always tells me that her one grandmother made up for not having two, yet deep down, I fight guilt from keeping her away from my mom. That is 100% on me, I know, however, every mother wants their kids to have foundational relationships with their grandparents. It teaches them about tradition, legacies and life lessons to hear stories and learn skills from their elders.
With my parents, I worked very hard to keep my parent’s values from corrupting my kid.
Since I have been working on rebuilding with my newly fragile mother, however, I almost wish that my daughter would take time to see what her grandmother is now like. Almost.
But, my daughter is now 26 and is very adamant that her maternal “Grandmonster” has nothing to offer her, and that is just how it will remain. I respect that.
I just need to be content that I can finally take some time to get to know the woman that my mom has become, and spend time in her senior years attempting to make myself better, by becoming a small part of her life.
I often think about what would happen if my mom would pass away from her many health issues, and selfishly worry about what her thoughts of me, her youngest daughter will be, as her life flashes before her eyes for the final time.
And it gives me a reason to “stay in touch”, even if it is just conversations through Faceook Messenger for the time being.
She is No Longer a Monster
She is now “the woman” who gave birth to me.
She is not the woman who I was terrified of as a child and perpetually angry at for staying in such an abusive marriage.
She is now the woman who I could potentially learn about my genes from, and who can shed some light on the why’s and the reasons for my childhood if I am willing to open those doors.
She is now that woman who I will call Mother, and as she ages, I will carry compassion and empathy for her, and I will make attempts to be her daughter.
I am not guilty of cutting ties with her over the years, and I know that.
I simply don’t want to be riddled with questions and worries that she will never know that I honestly have always wanted a mother in my life, even if it is now, while we are both aged women.
I will cherish her words to me, now as her 50-year-old daughter, even if I don’t agree with what she has to say. I have matured enough to know that we all make bad choices. We all made mistakes, and we all simply want to go through life with someone who loves us.
And, for that, I have no choice but to respect the woman who gave me life.
For that, I will celebrate that my mom is still alive, and I will wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.