My eldest daughter sent me a text last night. “I am really grateful for you” she wrote.
My heart sings.
My youngest daughter and I have a dinner date on Thursday night. It’s our commitment to each other to do it at least twice a month.
My heart is light.
I haven’t spoken to my mother in weeks.
My heart is heavy.
To lighten my heart I must do the things that unstick it. I must soften it through kindness, compassion, Love.
Note to self. Phone my mother.
My eldest sister Jackie is our mother’s caretaker. She takes her to doctor’s appointments, the bank, lunch. She and her husband have her out to spend a weekend at their house at least once a month. My mother isn’t always the easiest person in the world to spend that much time with, but my sister does it. She loves her and expresses her love through the thing my mother wants most, time with her daughter. Time being part of the circle of love that she gave birth to.
Awhile ago, my mother told me she didn’t want to have lunch with me because I would probably say something to make her angry. I got angry and didn’t ask her again. Though I do think about dropping off flowers, or a note, or something sweet to the assisted living lodge where she lives.
Problem is, I only think about it. I don’t put action to my thoughts.
All the good intentions in the world won’t create a world of goodness if I do not act on my intentions.
See, my mother and I never had that great a relationship. We never spent time together, mother daughter, without what I judged as her neediness and what she saw as my rebellious nature clashing. As we aged, I resisted time spent defending myself against what I judged to be her onslaught of criticism. She resisted time spent with my constant defensiveness. I like to deal in reality, I told myself. She likes to live in make believe.
And now we sit, two women on distant shores of the river that divides us — figuratively and literally. We live in the same city but she is on the north side of the of the river flowing between us.
I have a lot of excuses for why I don’t connect with this woman who gave me birth. And believe me, all of them are good!
I mean seriously. She has a phone too. Why doesn’t she just call me sometime?
I can be so funny when I’m riding roughshod over my conscience and my heart, flinging off excuses as I gallop through fields of self-justification.
My mother is 92 years old. She wants only peace in her life. Why would she want to spend time with a daughter who she sees as having habitually created strife in her life?
Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother isn’t ‘innocent’ in the distance between us. There’s a lot of water under this bridge and I’m not the only one who poured it in! (So there!)
It took two to create this ocean between us, says my heart with a defiant stomp of its heavy left foot.
Softening my heart isn’t about right and wrong. It’s about doing the right thing. Doing the things that unstick the hardened areas of my heart to let harmony and joy flow all around.
It takes two to keep the distance static. It only takes one to shift direction to start closing the gap. It only takes me to make the step across the river.
And all the self-justification in the world doesn’t really cut it when my heart knows that which it wants most. I am not being true to myself when I resist Love.
Note to self. Call my mother. Take action. Today.
What about you? Is there someone in your life where your thinking is consumed with self-justification and rationalization to ensure you keep your distance? Is there somewhere in your heart that needs softening?
And yes, I know. You gotta protect yourself. You gotta keep your distance….
I know I have no need of connecting with some people from my past. My thoughts of them are not filled with rationalizing why I shouldn’t.
But with my mother… my thoughts are often filled with reasons why it’s not my fault I need to keep my distance. And in my rationalizing why ‘it’s not my fault’, I create a faultline that has more to do with keeping me standing on the other side of the river, resisting opening up to that which I want more of in my life. Love.
Time to change directions. Time to make a difference in the area of my life where I need to move on, towards and into Love. Time to let my heart sing.
This is a tough one. Lately I have been realizing that with my own in-law dilemma I just have to give up, But they are not blood relations. Mothers can be so tricky for daughters (not so much for sons it would seem). Yours doesn’t like a supportive person so I think your feelings are entirely justified. Thinking of you Louise and glad you have your own two beauties!
I feel so blessed Julie to have created the relationship I always wanted with my mother with my daughters. There is such beauty and light in what we share together. Hugs
You have obviously stopped history from repeating itself – bravo to you and your girls!
My mom and I were at odds sometimes but we were lucky…we never let our differences linger between us for very long. I felt honored to be there for her when she became so ill, and before her recent death. I didn’t only lose my mother when she died, but I also lost a good friend. I wish it was possible for people to get over what is straining their relationship with their loved ones. I may have taken my mom’s love and support for granted at one time, but now I realize how very blessed I was.
Perhaps you may consider letting your heart sing today, and call someone who may love to hear from you, wheather they realize it or not.
I did Carolyn! I called my mother and we had a chat — and I felt better for doing the loving thing. 🙂
I really, really, loved this post and I really like the imagery of seeing the person across the river…in my mind I am constructing a raft so that I may intentionally cross the river to reach the person on the other side. xo
Thanks Diana! Rowing with you. 🙂
Mother/daughter realationships are difficult for many people not the realationship I have with my mum as she is my best friend and mother but can’t say the same for me and my eldest daugher we clash a lot and there is no way we can live together and even though I like getting together with her I will often return home feeling stressed and worn out just from her company. As much as I love her she does drive me around the bend…………..You should ring your mum but if that is also stressful maybe you could write her a letter and chat via mail and not via phones or face to face………..
I called her Joanne — it was a lovely chat — short and sweet and with my intention of creating harmony, I left my ‘attitude’ out of the conversation. Much nicer when I turn up without attitude 🙂 And when I hung up, my heart sang because it knew I had done the loving thing.
Yes there are many with similar stories of strife within families.
Unfortunately I have been estranged from my sister ( my only sister) for seven years.
I guess I gave up.
I waved the white flag.
I gave her the olive branch.
Only to be dismissed.
My parents were horrified.
My ex husband said “Di – let it go”
Even my dad (who never says anything), said: “Don’t go there, Di”.
Yet – I can’t really rest – truly rest –
with this rock between us.
My mother lived with me the last three years of her life. She never said a cross word though which makes a world of difference. I have never regretted the time we spent together. I still miss her.
I am so glad to read from the comments that you made the phone call and afterwards you were singing. You have found peace like in that poem you wrote about the common ground. I am proud to know you and I am so happy for you.
In the uncommon ground between us
I must first make peace
with where I stand
to make room
for you to be
with where ever you are
In finding peace
with where we’re at
to the common ground
for peace to grow
I think this poem you wrote is truly one of the most inspiring poems ever!