Something strange happens when we grow up--we suddenly realize our parents are merely human, too. We stop believing they are superhero life experts who know all of the answers. We see where they went wrong. We see their bad habits. For a while, their flaws may be all we see. This phenomenon can be confusing. It can also make us angry.
But, hopefully, it eventually leads us to a place where we stop and think, "They did the best they could at the time." And that should mean everything.
Several years ago my parents got divorced and my mom moved far away. I was just entering young adulthood and we didn't talk much. Looking back, I was pretty bitter about the whole thing and struggled with pride in having to teach myself how to become an adult woman who could go on to have a happy marriage. I couldn't understand how she could go so long without seeing or speaking to me after I'd grown up running to her with every silly little thing--I considered her my best friend.
I made it about me.
And it wasn't. It was about two adults trying to figure out what life looked like after marriage. It was about pain and depression and loneliness, and not mine. It was about trying to do the best they could under the circumstances.
I've only been a mother for five months, but I've already done so many things I said I'd never do. Edie hasn't been a laid back baby and feeding her is a daily fight complete with screaming and tears. I've yelled at Daniel in front of her, more than once. I've lost it and cried with her, a lot. I've felt completely at a loss as to how to take care of her in the midst of less than ideal circumstances. I've felt insanely depressed and alone in trying to figure this out, and I've alienated people who would probably want to help if they could.
But I know I'm doing the best I can.
So when my mom came to meet Edie last weekend, I let go. I let her see me cry and struggle. I know she's been there (with me). I know she knows what it is to fear making mistakes but moving forward, anyway. And even though it was her first time meeting her first grandbaby, she let it be about me and my hurt. She told me it was okay to feel this way. And I felt a new kind of bond with her, now mother to mother.
Thanks for coming, Mom.