February 4, 2013
On Saturday the girls and I took my mom to dinner.
It sounds so simple, yet it was a difficult task for me. My relationship with my mother is complicated, imperfect. We don’t have a lot in common, and our conversations can get strained and awkward. We didn’t get to see her over the holidays, despite my efforts to get us there (she lives about an hour away), and I have felt badly that she had to spend all of December on her own. When the girls and I arrived to her house we brought Mom a new outfit: dress, sweater, leggings, shoes, even underwear. My mother doesn’t get fussed over a lot, and I figured that this is something that I could do for her that no one else really does. We had her try everything on (thankfully, it all fit and worked well together), and then she was ready for an evening out.
We went to a restaurant about a half an hour from her house, in a town she doesn’t frequently visit. My daughters sat on both sides of her and fussed over Grandma. Dinner was lovely, and I’d like to think that Mom enjoyed herself. I don’t know for sure, but I hope she liked it.
I don’t look back fondly on my childhood. My parents were too young when they got married and had kids. And their generation liked to divorce, so we had quite a few of those while I was growing up. I think that my parents did the best that they could, but I am definitely trying to make up for my own lost childhood when I throw all my energy into various holiday celebrations/decorations/matching outfits, etc. (Yes, I’m working on Valentine’s Day stuff. Of course.) The thing is that I have a knack (and I enjoy) making an occasion special, so I have a tendency to take it a bit over the top. I figure that you might as well make it memorable . . .
Do I love her? Yes, of course I do– she’s my mother. But do I like her? Often I don’t, but I am trying harder to find common ground. I can’t talk politics with her. I have different ideas on most topics from my mother, so in our conversation we end up dancing around subjects that become too argumentative. However, instead of focusing on what my mother and I can’t share, I’m trying to focus on what we *can* share, and what I can do to make her feel special.