My sweet mother. We see each other so very little. I wonder sometimes if you really recognize me, at those rare opportunities when we get to see each other. Or rather, who I have become. And then after months of absence there we are, finally, face to face. I look into your deep blue eyes and in them I see the reflection of everything I thought I’d lost along the way. You look at me with a mix of pride, joy and delight. And hope. Especially the hope part resonates strong with me and it is then that I finally realize we have the same high strung expectations for this visit. But what I first saw in your eyes seems hesitant to reach out to me, and with some sadness I feel my own spontaneity recede a little. I never could control my emotions around you. But then there is your embrace. Your warmth and sincerity wash over me, like the sun on a cloudy afternoon. Being this close to you is always soothing and unsettling at the same time. I can feel what you are feeling mom, all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s a two way street I know, there never really were any secrets between us, not when we are this close. We always feel each other, whether we like it or not. But heck, I get excited anyway ‘cause hey! My mom is finally here, in my home, the first place where I lived that was ever really worthy of the word home. So I ignore the underlying tension and focus on the good stuff, because most of all I want to make the most of your visit.
There is so much I want to show you, and so much you want to show me and obviously, we both want to show each other everything at the same time. There is always a lot of fuss when we want to show each other our newly found treasures. In my mind we are like two magpies showing of each other’s baubles and beads, while comparing our treasures we subtly get used to each other’s presence once more. This time you are in my home, my wonderful new home, so I feel like I have much to show you because the child in me wants to impress you, while the daughter in me wants to be recognized for the grown woman I have surely become. So I take the lead, and you don’t react very well to that. After all, you are my mother. You’re the boss. Right? Wrong I say. And before we know it our happy, highly anticipated visit turns a little sour. Only around the edges, but it’s there, biding its time.
You are in the kitchen and while I set the table for coffee and brunch you make the coffee with a small chiding from your part. Always coffee first, Johanna. Coffee before everything. I can’t do everything at once! I swallow an upcoming snide remark, smile and thank you for helping me out. Slowly, the sourness flows from the edges towards the center of my high strung expectations. Then we are eating and drinking and laughing. I forget the sourness. All the happy, sheltering memories of a warm past come to life while we chat. There are so many little things that remind of you in this house. Mostly, I have to make do with memories, because our time together is always so short. Do I even really know you mom? Except for being mom? Perhaps I still look at you through the eyes of a younger me. Perhaps it is there were this terrible feeling of estrangement still resides? If only I understood how you see me. I only know that I miss you. The few times that we actually see each other are ruled by our mutual expectations. I start feeling awkward and it is mixing with the sourness that is still creeping towards my center. My high expectations slowly collapse into the disappointment of a child with a bad temper. There is no real reason why this visit should go awry. But it does. Do you recognize this feeling mom? I can sense your disappointment, your hurt, your sadness.
Mom. I don’t know for sure if you realize this, but you are my biggest example. You don’t even know how much of an inspiration and motivation you have always been and alway will be to me. How much I admire your way of being. Maybe I don’t always agree with your choices. It pains me to see how you must carry your burden. I wish I could be of more help but I don’t seem to know how I can help without hurting you. But through all the misery and pain I keep seeing this radiance around you, you are the very essence of love, warmth and intuitive knowing to me. I believe I carry a part of your essence with me, as does my sister in her own unique way.
I know I have been angry with you lately and I guess it’s time to speak up. But I am afraid that such a conversation might turn into a fight. And we fence to well with our words. We hurt to well with our words. Unfortunately , this apple does not fall far from her tree at all. But I realize that if I don’t start talking, the sourness will eventually reach my heart, and our relationship will suffer the longer and deeper for it. We have this saying: ‘the blood crawls where it cannot’. I can lose my temper like a child, turning my words into knives, hurting you because I know I can. Not my finest moments. I tried talking to you in the past, many times. But somehow our talks turn so easily into drama. Slamming doors, a dramatic exit. It’s an old song and I don’t want to dance to its tunes anymore.
I guess part of me still blames you for leaving when I was younger. For choosing for yourself, to live your life with the man of your dreams. I thought I understood, but really I didn’t. It took me a long time to see that truth about myself. I really believed I was OK mom, for years I thought I was. But I am not. I know it isn’t reasonable or selfless. But it’s there and it’s burning hot. I thought I’d show you I could be strong and independent. This has always been so important to you, that I and my sister would be strong and independent. Not only was it your wish. It was ours just as much. Look at us mom, we are. We are both standing on our own two feet, blazing with new life and independence. We worked so hard to make it happen, and we did. Perhaps it is because I have reached that goal that I now feel at a loss more than ever. For once, I am not busy surviving. I have time to think, and process, and deal with stuff I hadn’t any room for dealing with while I was in survivalmode. I will never forget how you were there for me, while I was fighting for my own little place in the world. Perhaps it was easier for you to be there for me when I was vulnerable? I still am, by the way. Part of me will always be the lost girl with the rebel mask. It is this part of me I still have to confront myself with. I can’t make that happen, not truly, without your love and support. Because that little girl inside me is irrevocably entwined with the choices you made. I can only completely heal if we can heal together. I hope that there will be a time and place for us, where we can talk as woman amongst each other. Without reproach. With love and mutual acceptation. Because you are my mother and I love you and I believe in you. Completely. Always.