|Am not pinching her neck as she contends|
Maddie and Aaron are driving somewhere in the south as I write—somewhere where I (Llisa) am not—though 80 degree temps here make me less envious than I might be were it otherwise.
But the real point is that she is not here as I answer this mother/daughter coNUNdrum. I can only do my best to answer as Maddie would answer—as she obviously adores her mother.
I have a cordial, polite relationship with my mother. I honor her and love her, but can’t say I really like her. It took me a long time to realize that she’s narcissistic and doesn’t care about much that doesn’t revolve around her. Usually I’m okay with the nature of our relationship which mainly consists of a weekly phone call. But sometimes I see other mothers and daughters who are close (like you two) and I get a tad jealous. I wonder if I should be doing more to improve my relationship with my mother--even if it depletes me of my bubbly-ness (hubby's observation)—even if utilitarianism and a generous dash of superiority defines my mother's relationship with those around her.
What do you think?
Dear Distant Daughter,
No mom is perfect—I know mine wasn't. It took a long time for me to come to a place of peace with her—and that is what I hope for you. Some moms just aren't capable of giving good love let alone pure love. My mom just wasn't equipped—not to protect herself or me. But that's not the point I'm trying to make. What bugged me for a loooooong time was that she never acknowledged her shortcomings. I wanted an apology from her. I really wanted one. In my mind, I really deserved one.
That is a point.
It may sound cliché, but eventually I found a Bigger Love—and it enabled me to have compassion for her—forgive her for things for which she never asked forgiveness. The year before she passed away we had a "good" relationship. Meaning I reached out to her in love without expecting anything in return. My motives were selfless.
And I have never regretted it.
Maybe what I had in the end is what you have with your mother now. Only you know your heart. But Distant Daughter, never harden your heart—that will never serve you nor glorify God. My guess is that much of what you've been robbed of has been turned into compassion—and many have benefited. I've seen evidence thereof in your life.
And that speaks of beauty from ashes.
Not every mother can be as perfect as I am with Madeline (no need to confirm this with her when she returns). In the end, though, we should be compassionate—even if moms don't deserve it—even if we have to keep distance from them to protect ourselves. We can keep our hearts soft.
Hoping my words help in some miniscule way—as Maddie is not here to insert her considerable wisdom.
All In Goodwill,
Those Who are Working,
And Those who are Vacationing,
Lisa and Madeline