I think I have a pretty typical relationship with my mom. At times I feel so blessed by her…as do some of you, I am sure….but then there are those OTHER times…that challenge me and cause me to seek guidance (“Lord help me!”). I am fortunate to have a mother that is always striving to try to make our relationship better, stronger and less challenging for me. She is my biggest cheerleader and for that I am so thankful and blessed.
One of our MOST challenging phases was when I was in high school…our relationship was at an all time high…high anger, high angst, high strife. I wanted OUT! A few years into my college experience, I gained some insight and understanding…or at least I was starting to gain it, and that was a HUGE step.
Of course, since college, there have been different, smaller, steps and other HUGE steps of growth and understanding, coupled with those moments of twists and turns of different challenges and strains. Now, as a counselor that works with mothers and daughters, I draw from my history with my mother, as well as all that I’ve learned elsewhere, to help guide my clients in their relationships with each other. Do you have a challenging relationship with your mother or your daughter? You are not alone! We all have our moments–big and small- and the most important factor to realize is that (many times) each person is working hard to make it better. Conversations lead to confusion, our past hurts and past relationships and our PASTS in general get in the way of how we LISTEN and HEAR each other. Please hear this. There is hope for growth and change in any relationship. All it takes is two people that are ready and willing to TRY.
TRYING and EMPATHY are the themes of this poem that I wrote to my mom back in 1990, my sophomore year in college. A sprouting young woman…trying to “get it” when it comes to a mother’s love. This shows that “turning point” in a young woman’s growth and maturity when she tries on “empathy” for a change– Empathy towards one of the most challenging and rewarding relationships she may ever have– that with her mother. I hope this encourages you whether you are a mother or a daughter…or BOTH!
(This one’s for you, mom!)
To My Mom….
As I reminice into past years, memories of many blurred feelings back then form into focus now.
I will never truly understand what your feelings were towards me as I grew, and as I continue to grow. This is only a phenomena only parents can comprehend. I can only try to create a similar feeling within myself to TRY to understand.
Throughout my years as a young teenager, I thought I was mature and old enough to handle things. This you knew because you, too, were once a teenager. You knew what I was feeling. I, on the other hand, had not been in your shoes. I had not had a living part of me growing up in her own world…a world that seemed so distant from mine. Is that what it felt like? Like you should have more control, you should have felt more “connected”, but you knew you couldn’t and didn’t?
When I got older, my life was very much my own and I wanted to grow even more on my own. “INDEPENDENT” was the magic word to me. Only cowards held on to their parents’ hands.
You saw my life that was so much my own, yet so much a part of you. You, after all, CREATED ME! There was a part of you wanting to leave you and so much be away from you. How much that must have injured your heart and soul!
Now I am away, and I have my magic word. And I am no coward in my eyes. I have my own life without you daily, physically present. If I had had it then I would have been overjoyed! Instead I am content. And now that I have my own life, I WANT you in it. I want to share my feelings with you..my fears and dreams, joys and sorrows. I want to call you on the phone to hear your voice..so much like my own.
Now we’re apart, and you see me– a part of you–rarely coming around, or only calling to just say, “Hi!”. You want to share your feelings with me because even though we’re far apart; we’re close. You after all, CREATED ME!
You see this woman, independent and strong, on her own and FREE! This makes you happy!…and sad…because she’s not yours any more to hold and protect. She’s out of your arms, out of your home, out of your reach…but she’s still in your heart.
AND YOU’RE STIL IN MINE, MOM. I love you. I’m trying to understand your love for me, and my new love for you.
To the mother’s out there with daughters…..be encouraged. The love is there. It may be buried under stresses, strains and challenges. Keep on digging, keep on trying to “get it”, keep trying on that awkward outfit called “empathy”. Keep letting her know you love her. If she doesn’t let you know she loves you back now, maybe, one day she will!