Growing up my mother and I did not have the best relationship. Okay, truth is our relationship was pretty non existent. I never understood how two people could live under the same roof and barely spend any time together whatsoever. As a child I never felt like my mother wanted anything to do with me. She would plan outings for herself and my sister only to tell me I could not go because”I didn’t like the same things they did”. Never did my mom take interest in what I liked and unfortunately this led to me growing accustomed to our struggle-ship and putting up a mental wall barring out anything that had to do with my mom.
Fast forward to the present and I find myself pregnant with my daughter. My mind was overwhelmed with ideas of how I would not repeat the cycle of poor mothering that I had received. At the time I knew the only way to not repeat the cycle was to open this longstanding wound and heal it. I decided my journey of healing would start at the source. I called my mother and made plans to have lunch just the two of us. We met at a local restaurant filling the half empty space with unfamiliarity. I dove right in not holding back regardless of who was listening. I asked all the tough questions: the “why did yous” and the “how comes” only to find out that my mothers behaviors stemmed from a past that she herself had not dealt with.
Throughout my mothers’ childhood she was abused by her step father. My mother made the decision that most people do, shove the feelings down and pray them away. My mother carried her secret for over twenty years, never telling a soul until now. I could tell she was still holding on to her shame due to the fact that she was trying to tip toe around the details. I listened intently as my mother spoke. I listened to her as the little girl who wanted so bad to connect with her mother. I was hoping to hear any little piece that could connect us, and then it happened. My mother looks up at me as if she had an epiphany. She said she realized that throughout my childhood she had abused me. No, she didn’t put her hands on me nor forget to feed me; she neglected me and to her that was just as bad as the abuse she had suffered.
On that day I chose to forgive my mother. Not because I felt sorry for her after hearing her story but because forgiveness is the anchor of healing. I would never be able to become the woman and mother I wanted to be if I didn’t forgive. I couldn’t teach my daughter about healthy relationships unless I was able to have them myself. I walked out that restaurant healed. I gave my mother the ability to own her part in our relationship and she gave me the ability to do the same. No longer were we pointing the finger of blame. This time I had to accept my own apology for allowing my mother to dictate our relationship instead of making it a point in my life to connect with her.