Something truly horrible happened to me when I was 21 years old.
At the time, I was happy, I had no idea. Mainly because the horribleness was quiet and subtle and took me several years to see. Of course, by that time, I had been wounded and brought down, nose in the dirt, heart in the trash.
Though I never admitted to the horribleness at the time out of embarrassment, my mother got me through the insanity, until I found the strength to walk away, leaving the horribleness in its own dust.
My mother and I talked a lot on the phone. Maybe two or three times a week in between her work and mine. We talked about everything: her friends and mine, family, my sisters, our latest reads, recipes, her life and my life. Everything except my secret.
Our talks were a lifeline to my sanity. A reminder of me. A reminder of connection. Reassurance that I was not crazy. Support freely given. Because I asked.
I knew the talks meant much to her. My interests in spirituality were greatly expanded from my childhood. She craved the expansion the same as I. She thirsted for more insight, more possibility than was available in her town. One day, she even remarked that she knew no one beside me with whom she could to talk and explore in the way we could and did.
I learned much and received wonderful advice from her about those issues I could raise. In the conversations we talked of the future and its possibilities. I remember one moment where I thought of myself as mother and told her. She assured me that she knew I would be a wonderful mother. I knew then what I have hoped even now: I want to be a good mother to my daughter if ever I am so lucky. I want to offer loving support where we connect and learn about the adults we have become just as I did with my mom.
I do have a daughter and fortunately not a daughter of the horribleness. I was able to get away before that happened. She is wonderful and beautiful and smart and has grown from adorable child to amazing young woman.
I know I was not a perfect mom. Like mine, there were times when my anger got the best of me. Like mine, I was young and often alone, figuring out life on the fly. The only calming moments in my day were the phone conversations with my Mom. Always there for me, willing to come across country for visits to know her granddaughter and me.
At her birth, I promised my daughter I would do everything in my power to offer the same refuge, the same support, the same deep heart love. To be there for those talks, those connections which were balm for my soul and would be balm to hers.
Here’s the problem: my daughter is not me, never has been. At her current age I was deep in the horribleness, struggling to come up for air. She is not in a situation like mine, far from it. Instead she has her own situation, her own challenges, and her own desires. She doesn’t reach out to me like I reached out to mine. With limited contact, I don’t even have enough information to know what motivates her and why. She doesn’t seek the talks I promised and expected. Perhaps there is her own anger and frustration. Perhaps just not her thing in this moment. Again, no way for me to be certain.
My certainty is my grief and loss. That in this moment she is not reaching out to connect like I did with my mother. The expectations of my promise go unfulfilled. Making up reasons is simply distracting and dishonest as there is no way to be sure of the basis of her choices.
Frustration and anger are there for me as well along with the feeling of how dare she ignore me! Yet my pain comes in not being able to offer what I thought she’d want. To conclude she is rejecting what I expected to be true is not honest.
This is my loss in this moment and mine alone to deal with. My mother was there when I asked. To expect my daughter to ask for the same from me is me putting my expectations on her. Let me not lay my expectations at my daughter’s feet. Let me open a door to her asking of me without expectation.
While I may not be perfect in action, I do know I have love in my heart for her always.
Now is the time for me to take a step back and say, “I am here for you always and, if in my power, for whatever you ask.”
Love you a million times the universe!