I was just out for a walk (a great stress reliever) on a beautiful early Spring day. While I was listening to music (another great stress reliever) as I was walking, thoughts were also just swirling in my head. I’ve been spending so much time lately focusing on the mother-daughter relationship; between building this website, talking to other daughters about their mothers, reading articles, watching videos, and reading books on the topic. In addition, I’m also working on creating a family tree on one of those genealogy websites so I’m thinking about family ties, the past, the future, how we’re all connected, etc. All leading to a lot of thinking…which I guess is part of what this whole website is about.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother and my relationship with her. While it’s been strained over the years and certainly difficult at times (and still can be), I’ve been working very hard at trying to build a better and happier relationship with her. Despite the issues we’re had over the years, though, and still have, I do feel really lucky to have her.
Last night I went out with some girlfriends for a girls’ night and the topic of our mothers came up. As is always the case, the situations were all different but shed some light on my own situation. One friend has always had a combative relationship with her mother…most likely due to the vast differences between them (if one says white, I’m sure the other would say black every time). Another is one of the few women I’ve spoken with who actually has a great relationship with her mother and feels she’s one of her closest friends in addition to being her mother. And, yet, as the discussion continued, she admitted to times when her mother drives her crazy and when they just don’t see eye to eye (hmmm…even in the best of relationships). And the last friend had lost her mother at the age of 18.
I can only try to imagine that scenario. How much has this friend missed of both the good and the bad? I imagine that she would give anything to have had her mother here over all these years regardless of any inherent challenges in the relationship. In fact, I can still remember a girl I was somewhat friendly with in high school whose mother was dying of cancer. I remember going to her house one day after school while her mother was sick and already feeling the loss in the house. And when I was a teacher years ago, there was a little girl who was only in 1st grade and lost her mother to lung cancer. I wonder where these girls are today and how the loss of their mothers so early has affected who they are today as women and possibly mothers themselves.
This all just got me thinking about my own mom and how I want us to have a better relationship. I want to try to appreciate more that I have had her in my life and still do. I want to find a way to understand her more as a person and her own personal struggles. I want to be there for her as she nears the end of her life and try to make things easier for her. I think a lot of these feelings have come out of all of the talking about, reading about and watching videos about various aspects of this very unique relationship.
Note: After writing this whole thing, when I spoke to my mom this afternoon I didn’t feel that I was at all patient with her or appreciative…just proves, I guess, that this is all easier said than done. But certainly good stuff to think about and the awareness is there. This is a slow and gradual process, but it seems to be working. For instance, my boyfriend was away last weekend so I thought of going to visit my cousin in Maryland. But then I thought about my mom and the fact that she rarely gets to go out on the weekends any more since my dad died. So, with this new awareness in mind, I decided to ask her out on a “date.” We went to a movie and a nice dinner together and had a very enjoyable time (despite a few minor tensions). So, while this new awareness may not work every time, it certainly helps me some of the time!