Relating to my Mother is an Exercise in Letting Her Be.
When relating to my mom, it’s better when I remember that I’m not only her child, but a grown up, too.
I’m more gentle and compassionnate when I remember that I’m a mother, too. And that sometimes I’m not ready for a conversation that is difficult in the moment when one of my daughters needs to have it.
So I lay off. Let her be.
My mother is not me. She doesn’t think like me, doesn’t feel like me. Many subjects that are my passion are incomprehensible to her.
Relating to my mother is an exercise in letting her be who she is, rather than demanding that she be who I need her to be.
Dehumanizing other people into our need fulfillers is such a habit.
I’m learning to love my mother the way she is.
The imperfect, traumatized, messy human.
Just like me.
As an adult, I don’t need her to be anything other than who she is.
I am grateful that, unlike my father, she maintained contact with me through everything. This is what sets her apart. No matter how hurt she may have been through our interactions over the years, her devotion to me, her love for me as her child overrode everything.
That is the example I hold onto with my own daughters: nothing will chip at my love for them.
What motherly love means to my mother may be different than what motherly love means to me. But that is of secondary importance.
What I am working on right now is expanding my heart to include all of my mother – things I find easily lovable, and things I find harder to love.
I’ve been practicing this with learning to love myself, my children, my husband. Learning to love people in their entirety, all of them.
Now I’m extending that to my mother.
It requires me to step in in full range of who I am. When I treat her as her child only, there’s a long list of grievances. When I relate to her as a woman and a mother myself, there’s access to compassion and understanding of the complexity of this human experience. With that comes softness and acceptance. And love.