When I was little, my whole life revolved around my mother. I loved her completely. I wanted to be with her every moment. I wanted to please her no matter what. I was afraid she would die and I would never see her again. When I was an adult, I was much closer to my father, but as a small child, my mom was my whole world.
As I began to grow up, I realized my mother wasn’t like other mothers. She was older (she had me at 40 in 1962.) She had some crazy rules and she liked to control our family. I began to realize that my mother was not a perfect person and it was hard to accept. We had some crazy fights and I ended up not sharing most of my life with her because she just didn’t “get it”.
When I told my mother that I was moving to Hickory with Kevin, her response was “I can’t believe you are doing this to me!” Not “are you sure this is the right decision for you?” She made it all about her, just like everything else in our family. Once Kevin and I were living in Hickory, however, I missed her (and my dad) greatly.
When we moved back to Indiana, we had several years of wonderful times together. When she got sick, though, her obsessions took over our family. She had undiagnosed Celiac’s disease and she was miserable. She took out her misery on our family, especially my father. It was hard to watch. She pushed me and my family away. Molly didn’t understand why Grandma was so cranky all the time. She didn’t want to see us or even talk on the phone. When she died, it was a relief. She was no longer bound by a life she no longer enjoyed.
When I became a mother, my whole world shifted. I had a tough pregnancy and when Molly was born, something in my heart grew. My capacity to love unconditionally exploded. I remember lying in my hospital room with newborn Molly laying on my chest and knowing I would do anything for this person for the rest of my life. I am reading a book where a woman has a six month old baby and she states that after her daughter was born “9/10ths of her heart belonged to her child”. I think that fraction is a little high, but there is a part of me that will always belong to Molly and no one else. It also made me realize that my own mother never felt this way about her own children. She always kept her heart for her needs, not her children or husband. Don’t get me wrong- she loved us as much as she could. Her own mother was cold and unfeeling and my mother did not have a good role model for being a good parent.
Now we have moved to Oceanside and we put Molly on a plane back to Louisville yesterday. We had almost a full month with her and it was wonderful. We couldn’t have managed the move so smoothly without her help. She has grown into a wise and caring woman and my best friend.
So, that part of my heart that belongs to my child is now 2300 miles away. It is easier to keep in touch these days than when we moved to Hickory. We can text, Snapchat, FaceTime, email and, yes, even call. She will be back to visit for two weeks in three months. We have gone that long between visits before. It just feels different because she is so far away. We are so blessed to have this wonderful human being as our daughter. I know how to be a good mother because I know how it felt to not always have a good mother. I am not perfect. Molly and I still have disagreements, but we talk about them and resolve them. I know she doesn’t tell me everything going on in her life- some of it is none of my business. But I do know that I have shown her unconditional love. I do know that she loves me back unconditionally. That is something that I never had with my mother. That makes me know that no matter the physical distance between us, the distance between our hearts is undetectable. That, makes my heart complete.