I have been thinking awhile about how I am going to go about writing this post. Different moments throughout the past few weeks I have been thinking about all the things my mother taught me, and the things I have learned from her. Her teaching me and me learning are similar but different. When I address what she taught me, I mean what she intentionally, verbally shared with me. When I talk about what I learned from her, I mean what I learned just by her example, her influence, everything she is as a person.
But I cannot go into the things she taught me, without first sharing with you, who she is.
My mom and I have always been close, but like most relationships, there are times that are more distant than others. Growing up, my mom took care of my siblings and I while my dad worked evenings for us. All my childhood memories are mostly wonderful ones. Lots of laughter, lots of family times, both parents always there. My mom always took care of us when we were sick. My sister and I shared a bedroom, we had cool bunk beds. My mom would read to us almost every night, always so animated. She put music on to help us fall asleep, but was always awake upstairs for her insomniac child to go to. I grew up in a house of sunlight where creativity was always glowing and my brother and sister and I had fun. We were always close. Mom was always there.
But as my hair grew longer, and my independence towered like a wild wall, my teenage years caused an uncomfortable strain in our relationship. Even though my body was present, my heart drew away, and I grew apart. I slowly settled into my private world, only coming up for air for all the mandatory things, but retreating for all the dark things. Only one part of myself was on display, I hid the rest. My attitude, my secrecy, my silence, only created more problems in our relationship. When I was hurting I didn’t go to her. When I needed help, I never asked. When I needed to talk, nothing came out. We fought, and I withdrew. She tried to get in, I wouldn’t let her. She waited on one side of the door, and I blocked the other; keeping her out of my room, away from my tears, further from my heart.
It was like that, for a few years.
The hardest thing, is that I can never excuse why I acted that way. I had no reason too. She never did anything wrong for me to treat her the way I did. She was always there, She always wanted to listen, She always wanted to be a part of my life, but it was I who took the match and lit the fire, and let the flames burn between us, separating us.
Despite my behaviour, I am so glad, that she never listened to me, she never left me alone. This is the kind of person she is: someone who cares so deeply, loved me so much, that she never walked away from me, despite the flames I threw around. She never resented me. She never treated me the way I treated her. In those dark times when I was a rebellious, selfish ass, she was still waiting, on the other side of the door, for whenever I decided to open it.
It took awhile for me to open that door, but when I did, it was a late sunday night, and the morning sun exposed all the dark places of my soul and we cried together as I bared my self to her. And all the things I should have told her, and all the things I could have heard from her long ago, came out. And she sat there, with all of the empathy, forgiveness, and unconditional love that a person could have, as I let her in. Healing took place that night, and my relationship with my mom was restored.
I take time to recognize that it could have went another way, if she were a different kind of person. She could have withdrew from me, she could have accepted our relationship the way it was, she could have shut me out; but the saving grace is that she never. She fought for us, she waited for me to return, she never walked away. And I am so thankful, using words that really could never describe the appreciation I have inside for a mother like her, that when I was 18 years old I found parts of myself that had been so lost, and restoration took place as I finally took the key that was clenched between my fingers and let myself break free from a cage that I have been holding myself in for years.
And when I walked out, her arms were open. That night, I realized that she was always my mom, always a wife, always a person, but now, my best friend.
The woman I am today, is because of the person she was in the dark days.
a forgiver, a fighter, a believer.
it is never too late, for freedom