On Being a Daughter

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I had a real honest talk with my mom on Sunday. We just came back from a run/walk and I was talking to her about my brother and his latest antics with his girlfriend (who is sweet as pie and I love to death). And there I was talking about his short comings in the relationship department and I thought they stemmed from his lack of a good male role model growing up and I saw her tear up.

I made my mom cry ya’ll. It wasn’t intentional, but it happened.  At first I thought I should stop talking and change the subject, but then I realized that I was an adult and as much as I was venting about my brother’s issues, I was really also airing out mine.

It’s no secret that I grew up in a less than ideal home situation. Divorced parents living together, one an alcoholic and adulterer and the other just trying to do right by her kids. However, what happened was failure to show my brother and I what a healthy relationship should look like.

Instead my brother became insecure and inherited a wandering eye. It’s from lack of trust coupled with fear of commitment. I, well, I suffered from the same things, but add in all the daddy issues. The lack of distrust, the yearning for male attention… textbook.

So as I sat at my kitchen table and discussed this, I didn’t think that it would affect my mom. But there she was listening to me, agreeing, but with a tear in her eye. At first I thought she would get defensive, but instead she just looked at me and said I’m sorry.

Those two words hit me like crap ton of bricks. I was taken aback. In all the years of our mother-daughter struggles and strife, I do not think she ever just said, I’m sorry. I admit part of me wanted to be angry and say well you should be or some other hurtful combination of hate, but I just looked at her and said, its ok.

You see, somewhere between 16 and 2 weeks shy of 36 I realized that she is not the enemy. She is human.  She has sinned and been sinned against.  She has made bad decisions, chosen wrong men, told some lies, but she is human. We all fail and often we fail those we love the most. And in that moment I realized she was hurt by all of the things I was hurting about but for totally different reasons.

I think it was perhaps the first time I truly saw her as a friend instead of my mother. With the pain of 70 years and 36 years of parenting me.

We continued to talk about the past and my issues and then it was done. We had this amazing adult conversation with no yelling, no screaming and hugs at the end. To see my mother as a woman just like me, as a mom just like me and a friend was grace filled. It unpacked years of tension in 10 small minutes and it felt wonderful.

Have you reached that moment with you mom? Has she gone from mom to friend? Is there something you need to forgive? Now is the time.