I’ll admit, I had a little trouble getting started on this one. One, it’s a little more personal and two, understanding any relationship can be difficult, especially one as delicate and intricate as your Mother’s. I’ll preface by saying that I didn’t have much of a father figure growing up, so my Mom was and will always be a sort of super Mom to me; one person extending herself beyond what is logical, thanklessly filling the role of two….all for me, all so I can be happy.
Anyways, a couple of weeks ago I received a surprise package from her. Initially, I thought it might have been a box of some of my old things from my childhood house, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderfully curated package, filled with goodies from her recent trip to Portland. Inside was a shirt from the renowned bookstore, Powell’s Books, a bookish and dog loving tote and a book, “Why I Read, The Serious Pleasure of Books”. Now to you, this may seem like a basic and rather normal assortment of souvenirs for a self-proclaimed book lover, but in carefully holding and looking through each item, I was so touched, I started to cry. And for whatever reason, in that moment, an aspect of our relationship that I had never really took the time to understand, or rather, didn’t have the perspective to, became so apparent and clear. My Mom understands me. Of course, it wasn’t just this thoughtful gesture that led me to this new-found revelation, but rather a culmination of recent interactions and conversations, that finally brought me to this “aha” moment. So I sat with it, and wondered why, and have been thinking hard on it ever since.
Why after 30 years, am I coming to this realization of something that seems so obvious? Of course my Mom understands me. She has been with me every step of the way, watching me grow with a love and attention that only a Mother can do. I realize now, that my frustration in my teenage and young adult years of, “my mom not understanding me”, was misdirected. It wasn’t my Mom that didn’t understand me, it was ME that didn’t understand me. Not only did I not truly understand myself, but I demanded perfection from this unknown person and even more so from my Mom. Why are we most critical with those we hold dear, selves included? I demanded perfection, yet desperately needed what we all need, real human love and compassion. It wasn’t until I could see, love and accept the humanity in myself, that I could do the same for her and understand the true beauty and incomparable bond in our relationship. Although my Mom has been my world and I find myself limited to that perspective at times, I have to remember she is also my sister’s, her husband’s and most importantly her own. I have always had the greatest admiration for her and that will never change, but now I see her in a new and different light. Now I see her, I see me, I see each other.