This post is about relationships. As writers, our relationships play a huge role in how and what we write. Sometimes it’s a good thing, and sometimes it can hold you back. And let’s be real, a writer’s life is difficult enough without creating our own barriers. And I know this from experience – I once had such a barrier, and it was a biggie.
My mother and I have mother-daughter “moments,” but unfortunately, we have never managed to string enough moments together to call it a true mother-daughter relationship. I love her and she loves me, but we’ve just never gotten along all that well. When I was growing up, we would have wicked arguments that would leave us both angry, frustrated and in tears. It wasn’t the most ideal of situations, that’s for sure.
However, I have been fortunate enough to forge a solid relationship with my daughter. We are close – crazy close. I can’t think about her without smiling.
But as much as I love and cherish that bond, it makes me wistful for the bond I’ve never had with my own mother.
Actually, “wistful” isn’t a strong enough word. Sometimes, I ache for it. The ache is particularly strong when I watch my mother lavish love on my daughter. I often find myself feeling like I’m on the outside, looking in, wondering why my mother can so obviously bestow love and affection on MY daughter, but could not do the same for me. If I’m not careful, the ache can quickly turn into resentment.
The adult me gets that my mother is the person she is, and for reasons I cannot fathom, but have learned to accept, she did not have the capacity to be the kind of mom I always wanted. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t the best mom she could be or that she didn’t love me. And over time, I’ve learned to live with that. But sometimes, and especially when I see my friends mention their relationships with their mothers, I still feel a sense of loss.
Bottom line: It is what it is. About 15 years ago, I realized I had two choices: I could continue to resent what I didn’t have with my mom, or I could embrace and appreciate what I did have. After a lot of soul-searching and teeth-gnashing, I choose the latter. My relationship with my mom isn’t perfect, but it does exist, and for that I am grateful.
So, my advice to you is this: Instead of trying to make a relationship what you want it to be, just accept it for what it is. You will experience a feeling of peace you’ve never known and you’ll be able to build on that relationship and hopefully create something you thought you’d never have.