I’ve heard many times that the relationship that you have with your mother will reflect the relationship you have with your own daughter. And whenever I heard that… it made me feel anxious. I have a weird, complicated, and loving – yet distant – relationship with my mom. That’s probably because my mom is not your typical mom. Half of the people in my life think she’s hilarious. The other half cannot stand her because she offends them and can’t stand her frazzled personality.
One huge factor of our relationship is our communication because English is not her first language. I can speak to her in a broken, 7th grade level way, but when we get any deeper than “what should we eat for dinner today?”, it gets too hard and I just give up. If I could wrap up one word for my mom it’s “inconsistent.” Which, I guess is not the best character quality you want from your mom. I can never guess what she’s going to do next, never understand what she likes or dislikes because it’s always changing. Whenever I come home, the furniture is arranged differently and she’s on a new trend. She went through a cake decorating phase, a bread making phase, a skincare representative selling phase, a salt water filtration system phase, and just last year she picked up playing cello. She is a visionary and loves picking up new hobbies, but the desire to not settle down and grow roots seeps into other areas of her life.
I know she loves me and is very affectionate towards me. I have no problems holding hands with her and giving her gifts. But other than that we have no real connection or relationship. I can feel her love for me and she says very loving things to me, but we simply can’t hang out and talk. I honestly don’t know if that makes me sad because her personality drives me a little crazy. Over the years I’ve decided that maybe the distant yet polite way is our “thing” and I should be OK with it.
Even though we live 1 hour away, she isn’t around as much as I imagined after having kids. I always thought all grandparents wanted to be around their grandchildren 24/7, because that’s how it is in the movies. (Oh the power of media and film!) My parents are loving and interested in my kids, but probably can only handle them for an hour or so before handing them over and taking a nap themselves.
I try to understand that they’re getting older, they’re physically limited and have their own personal interests too. I know we shouldn’t compare but I feel jealous when I see other friends’ parents who are obsessed with their grandchildren and offer to babysit and help out whenever they can. When my parents come over, it actually can make things harder because I have to entertain and feed them too.
So, yes. I love my mom. She was the one that told me to pursue my dreams and major in the arts. She did not push me to math and science like most immigrant parents. She had great faith in God and I felt it all my life. She told me every single day that I was beautiful and perfect, just the way I was. Those are amazing things for sure and have impacted me in wonderful ways. I want to thank her for those things but I don’t even know how, without her eyes glazing over because she doesn’t understand what I’m saying.
I love my mom knowing that she loved me the best she could with the personality she was given and the personality I was given. But oh man, all the little stuff in life makes it so easy to snap at her and not want her in my everyday life. It sounds so terrible, but I do think the best way to have the most peaceful relationship with my mom is to call, write cards, and see her every once in awhile. I have to stop resenting her and start accepting our unique relationship. I know that things may change over time, especially as the kids grow older. I’ve made my peace for now, knowing that this is a tough stage in life for many people in general. Mother’s Day in our family isn’t even about myself or my sister (who also has young kids), but it’s about my grandmother and my mom. I try to show her my appreciation in my own awkward way – a scarf, a silly card, a cake. It will never reflect how much I appreciate her, but without the words or relationship I don’t really know how else to express it. It is tragic in that way because it’s not the kind of relationship I’d want us to have, but honestly I think my mom truly believes we have a normal, healthy relationship. Maybe that’s all that matters!
I look at my 8 month old daughter and I pray that we can be different. I hope that we can have a real relationship, based on stable, authentic and genuine affection we have for each other that develops over the years. I hope we can have deep and thoughtful conversations about life, love and faith.
What about you guys? I’m sure I’m not alone in not having the fairy tale mother/daughter relationship that is portrayed in movies and shows. How have you made peace with your past and had hope for your future relationships with your children?