When I was growing up I always wanted one of those movie kind of relationships with my mother. You know, where we were best friends. We lunched together, shopped, laughed and I could tell her anything and she would understand and where she was the first person I called when anything happened in my life.
My mother and I never had that kind of relationship. Not because we didn’t want it but mostly because we saw the world so differently, I never could figure out how to cross the divide between us. The fact I tended to be obstinate, opinionated and somewhat critical (okay, a lot) of my gentle mother didn’t help bring us closer. The fact I liked to learn by experience, or as she would say, ‘do things my way’, didn’t give her heart much peace.
What the tensions in my relationship with my mother taught me though was that to have a strong relationship with my daughters, I had to do the work. I had to be the mother of my dreams by allowing them space to grow, to experience and to learn who they were, without my dictating how I wanted them to be or without my fears becoming their limitations.
I have done many things not so well in being a mother. Like cutting my eldest daughter’s hair into a pixie cut the night before she was to be Peaseblossom in Mid Summer’s Night Dream. Or letting her wear her black Micky Mouse leotard to ballet class when the rule was to only wear pink. There were other infractions, too numerous to cite, where I was woefully unequipped to model any behaviour other than my behaving badly or unwisely as their mother.
Fortunately, those infractions are just part of the story of how we got to be who we are today. How we get to love one another and be with one another as adults. How we trust and honour each other to be the person we are, not the person we want the other to be.
I have just had the gift of spending time with my eldest daughter in Vancouver before coming to Victoria where she graduates from Royal Roads University today. We laughed and cried and shared. We lunched together, walked together, took photos and made funny faces and laughed some more and even fought and made up and laughed again at our human richness. All of it is part of the rich tapestry of how we love one another because it is the love that carries us through the disagreements and the agreements. It is the love that connects us, shelters us and draws us together.
I may not have been able to create the movie kind of relationship with my mother that I always dreamt of, but with my daughters I have the relationship my heart has always yearned for, always wanted, always searched for in its journey home to Love.
I am blessed.