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You’ve just got to let go
Today, a good friend of mine lamented over Facebook about the seemingly loveless reactions she sometimes gets from her teenage daughter.
I feel such angst, the mom’s that is.
I’ve been that teenage daughter. I see my own strong-willed offspring and I know it’s coming.
There are things I try to do with Ziya even now that I hope will begin to create a healthy foundation between us.
I think it’s oppressive when parents need a lot of validation from their children, so I don’t invest a lot of control in her emotional reactions to me.
Sometimes, I’m leaving for work and manically waving goodbye, and she’s basically concerned with other things—like the oats stuck to her fingers.
I let it go. I’m going to love her more than she loves me, I think that’s the case for most mothers, and letting her do her thing without taking it personally is going to be key to our sanity. I might as well practice from now.
But its early days yet and I know this all sounds theoretical.
How can you love someone with all your being and not be hurt when they don’t reciprocally and unequivocally recognise you as the most wonderful person in the world too?
For all its power, motherhood is rife with vulnerability and, in fact, there are few things that mothers want more than love, affirmation and acceptance from their children.
That’s why for children, especially teenagers and sometimes especially daughters, withholding that reciprocity is their most inalienable weapon.
There will be things I do that Ziya considers intolerable, and perhaps unforgiveable, even if I do my best.
There may just be that period between 12 and 37 when she avoids some of my calls, shuts me out of aspects of her life, quarrels about my idiosyncrasies, gets impatient about my flaws, rants about my reactions, rolls her eyes at my concerns, sighs about my stories, shrugs off my affections, and defines whole parts of herself in incomprehensible opposition to me.
Children revere their parents and hold them, mothers more than fathers I think, to virtually impossible standards.
It’s easy for them to be disappointed, to see hypocrisies, to resent failures, to think worry is a lack of trust in their judgment, and to find the demands of love too intense and overwhelming for them to balance with their own individuation and definition of self to the world.
Sometimes love sends you tumbling, caught off guard, like a Maracas wave.
Sometimes, it gives you everything you need to feel full.
Sometimes it teaches patience and reminds us that the heart can ache. Sometimes it makes karma seem too real to be just mystical philosophy.
Sometimes, it toughens up the spirit and forces the mind to formulate an amended way. Sometimes, it leaves us unfulfilled, but that too is part of the story of loving.
My friend is someone I consider to be an amazing, inspiring, creative, caring, all too human mom. She’s raised two powerful daughters and I only hope I can emulate what she’s achieved.
I understand how she’s feeling even though I’m light years away from those moments myself.
Mother-daughter relationships can be intense, complex and rocky.
Amidst the frustrating moments, I’m learning from my sistren to remember that love’s foremost quality is that it eternally endures. Meanwhile, teenagehood eventually, sometimes thankfully for all, ultimately ends!
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