So my mom visited last weekend. I have a complicated relationship with her.
It has been a long and often painful road being her daughter. But in the last few years, I have found my way. I have found my own life. I have created my own family.
I have spent years mourning the loss of what could have been with her. And now we move on. No longer as mother and daughter because that relationship was so damaged and dysfunctional that I had to let it go. The only hope we had was to redefine our relationship around my boys - as the grandmother and mother of my boys.
And most of the time that is okay. Most of the time I can hold onto the intellectual arguments about how this is best for my kids.
You know those letters that people throw out, the Myers Briggs test results. The ones that tell you if you are in introvert or an extrovert, whether you are an NP or a SJ. I had to take the full test in college, as part of the resident assistant application process. I am a I/E NTJ. And not just a T but a strong T. I am a thinker. I do have feelings but I don't use them for my decision making. I don't trust them. I know they change and often quickly. But thinking I trust. Information and research and thinking through the consequences works for me.
All this to say that for the most part, I can intellectualize the importance of having my kids' grandma in their lives. I can compartmentalize my feelings and invite her into my home.
I can try to hide my stress during her visits. I can smile and pretend I am not worried about what she might say.
I can try to act like her daughter around my kids. Even when she reaches out to touch me and my body wants to jump back.
I can do my best to model healthy adult relationships for my boys.
But there is still a small part of me, hidden deep, that aches when I drop her off at the airport. The little girl in me that wishes so desperately that she had a mom I could call when she was having a bad day.
I may be a thinker but I do have feelings. And it still hurts.