There’s an old saying that goes “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”. While that saying is very true for my mother and I, we also couldn’t be more different. I have my Mom’s laugh; big, cackly, boisterous and silences all the other chuckles when we find something really hilarious. I share her love of words and language. Something she undoubtedly instilled in me. Our lives parallel each others in so many ways in our relationships with our family and otherwise. We both have devoted ourselves to caring for aging relatives. She cared for both her parents in their final years, I am now caring for my Granny and Uncle Ricky. We love the woods. Flowers. Earth. Poetry. Chocolate. Cheesecake. Philosophy. My kids. The list goes on and on. It seems we should be the best of friends, huh?
In other ways we’re very dissimilar. Mom is very rigid and disciplined. She’s always had a budget and in our most meager times, while I was growing up, she made ends meet for us by breaking out her ledger and moving numbers around so we’d have what we needed, and even some of what I wanted, while sacrificing her own wants. She is thoughtful and agonizes over decisions. She loses sleep over what others think of her.
I, on the other hand, am not as disciplined and have a “treat yo self” attitude when it comes to spending, especially on the subject of travel or experiences. I mean, you can’t take it with you! I always make sure basic needs are met but I never save for a rainy day. Irresponsible? I’d argue that it’s responsibly spontaneous or something with a fun, positive connotation for frivolity. In the same way that we are dissimilar in finances, we differ in how we make life choices. I can’t speak for her process although my mind does on occasion but I won’t do it here. Inasmuch as she has quietly pondered the choice at hand, I have loudly proclaimed “here’s how it is!”. These differences, while natural in a mother and daughter, have proven near fatal for our relationship.
You see, I took a path that led my Mom to follow me down a decade of dark, unending alleyway. The time we spent at odds because of my choices took a toll on her and perpetuated a relationship of constant conflict and rebellion on my part. After I finally turned toward the light, there were growing pains and lots of growing up to do and she was left picking up the desolation I had left in my path which included 2 kids and a lifetime of hurt. I can’t imagine what that has done to her, nor do I want to. I have enough hurt of my own of which I’m sure she knows and she does, too, something we’ve never really been able to discuss. The hurt, I think, has just compounded until it’s a hard, little rock inside each our hearts.
Nevertheless, we have tried. We have tried to carry on and not let the resentments stand in our way. We have tried to have a good, healthy relationship. Maybe she has tried harder. Maybe I’ve missed the mark. I’m not really sure. What I do know is that I love my Mom very much. I’m grateful for every time she saved me. I’m grateful that she loves my kids enough to save them from me early on. I’m grateful that despite our differences, she is still here and I can still talk to her about my dreams and plans even if I feel like she’s still rolling her eyes at my lofty ambitions.
I don’t know what the future holds for us and I know I have a lifetime of amends to make to her but one day, I hope that they are made, that she knows I did my best even when my worst was all I had to give. So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and adult children out there who think they’ve screwed up. To all the sons and daughters who don’t have their mom anymore. To the moms who don’t have their sons and daughters. It is never too late to tell your Mom you love her and to try another day to repair your relationship no matter the past. If I’ve learned anything from being a Mom, it’s that you only want the best for your child and that no matter the circumstances, no matter how much they try to be unlovable, you will always love them.
I love you, Mom!
Peace, Love and Cheesecake!!!