In two months my mother will turn ninety years old. She and I have had our ups and downs and I didn't live with her after I was twelve. We have stayed in touch most of the time and lived in the same area some of the years, but most of the time there have been many miles between us. That wasn't what really distanced us though. I held resentment in my heart, which was unhealthy for me and prevented me from having a true mother/daughter relationship with my mother. It was so unhealthy that when I spoke of my parents they were referred to as "the mother" and "the father". It goes to show how far I have come that I can now speak in the first person and acknowledge "the mother" as my mom.
My mother was not the only person to disappoint me when I was a child. My brother still holds resentment and anger toward her and the few times he mentions our childhood he says if it had been today, our parents would have been arrested for abuse. We were four people living together for a few years but we were not connected to each other emotionally. The parents who were supposed to be the adults were ill equipped to be parents. Consequently, my brother and I did not have an example of what a family could be. We lived isolated lives and remained on the outside trying to understand how to fit in but not knowing who we were or how to participate in a well balanced life.
Both my parents came from lives of poverty and abuse. As I came to understand what their lives must have been growing up, it became clear to me that they didn't know how to break the chains of abuse in order to equip their children for a better life than they had.
Learning to forgive entails more than one aspect. Forgiving for me meant also letting go, forgetting the unhappiness. It meant letting go of anger. My anger affected every relationship in my life. And while working the twelve steps in a codependency recovery program, I admitted to myself that blaming others for my behavior is so lame. I knew I wasn't perfect, but facing truths has helped me to accept myself as a struggling human being, and at the same time accepting my mother as a woman coping with a life she detested.
My mother did the best she could. That is all any of us can do. She won't read this post because she won't use a computer. It is important to me that she knows she is cared about and I send cards and sometimes flowers to her. There is no sorrow in this post. I write this as a way to remind myself how far I have come and that I too am doing the best I can do.
To all the mothers out there, I wish you a day of love and appreciation.