Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Mommy Issue

Many mothers and daughters experience conflict and after this weekend, I guess my mother and I are no different. My mother flew in from out of town to celebrate my birthday and although it was suppose to have been a happy and joyous occasion, it resulted in a lot of tears and hurt. Not all was bad, however. These past few days are more equivalent to a root canal - painful for a short period of time, but better for your health in the long run.

I have always considered my mother and I to be close; we talk on the phone every day and we are well acquainted with each other's daily routines. We celebrate major life changes together and as an only child, our love and adoration for each other is plain for all to see. But we were too busy in our lives to notice the gradual change in our relationship that occurred sometime over the last 10 years. It's hard to say what caused the change, or even if there is a single catalyst. One major change is that we stopped living together and we both got married. And this change, although natural, has transformed us (without our knowledge) from being each other's confidants to being perfect strangers.

Sparing the reader the minute details, the problem in our relationship can be boiled down to 2 things: (1) I perceive her comments as hyper-critical, only because she's my mother and therefore they rack up double the sting; (2) she feels like I don't make time for her and that she doesn't know me anymore. My mother and I concluded that we have taken this relationship for granted and this weekend was the first time we verbally acknowledge the change. We also concluded that this relationship, like any other relationship, takes work and we made a resolution to get to know each other - the old-fashioned way - through letter writing. And at the end of each letter, we were to ask the other person one question to be answered in the next letter. I know it sounds a bit antiquated, but I think it will work. I think this will work because not only does letter writing take time and thought, but the writer often feels less inhibited in in writing than talking over the phone.

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