Disclaimer: *I write this from MY perspective, and in the spirit of honesty with which I write everything on this blog, knowing that it could open a worm filled can. I find it too hard to pursue a relationship with my mother. It became over the years a one sided affair. I can list on one hand the times that my mother made the effort to call me, or visit my home over many years. She will feel differently about this. I own my choices. I attend family events (when I am invited and can attend) but do not seek out further time with my mother. I don’t call her, she doesn’t call me. I don’t feel like I am responsible for the state of our relationship or lack thereof, and there are stories that could be told by either side to justify the position and perception we both hold about this. It impacts on my relationships with my siblings, and that makes me sad. The only regret I have is that it sets a precedent. A potentially dangerous precedent, from the perspective of my heart.*
Sometimes, I feel out of my depth.
The distance between where I am and where I think I should be, is being informed by only one of my eyes. This mainly happens in my personal life. Professionally, things are simpler, in a crazy life and death kind of way. At work, I have a clear and legally defined scope of practice. It is expected that I refer to experts when I notice something on the edge of my scope, or outside of it.
But in my personal life, I feel like I walk a constant tightrope of risk.
In some of my friendships, that tightrope is the push pull of “is this okay that I am talking to you right now?” against “maybe I should wait for you to make contact?” Am I hassling you by texting you once or twice a week? Or do I seem disinterested by only sending you a face book message once every few weeks? Am I trying too hard by asking you to dinner? Ir is that just normal, and why am I even fucking thinking about this? Was asking you to look at my essay question presumptuous? Do people think that I have a lady crush on you? Do YOU think that I have a lady crush on you? (I may have a lady crush on you, because ladies are amazing, but it is ok, because I am highly monogamous with my husband type person. Ladies appeal, but are not allowed by the terms of our agreement!) I have friends with whom it is not like this. But in new relationships, I get lost in the sea of the distance between what I see with both eyes open and what is there when I close one.
As a parent, it was easy when the kids were little people. They knew I loved them, and if they broke a rule they accepted the consequence without doubt that I still loved them. (I tried to be a logical consequences type parent, though sometimes the logical part was a challenge). I never feared that any amount of reduced TV hours or removed privileges would cause them to doubt that I had their best interests at heart. They knew I was their biggest fan. They forgave me if I got it wrong. They loved me back. When they climbed up the slide, I was ready to catch them if they fell.
But, I don’t have a great relationship with my mother. I don’t have an example of a close connected family to aspire to. I don’t know how to be what I want to be to my girls, that strong, supportive figure who will let you fall, but not let you hit your head on the way down. I want them to make their own lives and still want me to be a part of them. I find it hard to know whether my girls will still love me, if I don’t agree with them. I worry that if I call them too often I will push them away, but if I don’t call often enough, I will lose the connection that seems so essential and easy for other mothers and daughters. Perhaps it is already too late, and I have already failed to build what needs to be built for that to work. I don’t know how to parent my adults. I am scared that I will get it wrong. So I find myself frozen in angst, like a teenager to scared to ask their crush on a date in case the flirtation was actually one sided.
Similarly, I live in fear of alienating my boy. He is smart and he is mature and he is amazing. But, I seem to get things wrong as often as I get them right. Maybe I am over analyzing. Maybe all of us feel this way, and it is like when they are littler and we are Parenting in the grey area. I feel like I live every day of my life in grey area. I can’t establish the distance between where I am, and where what I am seeking is.