A New Perspective

When I was eighteen years old, I graduated from a small high school in Kansas and headed off to college in Iowa, and at the same time, my parents moved to a new home in Illinois.  I never moved back in with them, and for the next forty years, my parents and I lived in different states, usually several hours away from each other.  But when my father passed away nine years ago, we all agreed that it would be best for my mother to move to St. Louis to be nearer to two of her daughters, and seven years ago, she moved to a house that is about a fifteen minute drive from me.

It seemed so different to suddenly have my mom close by again.  The first few weeks after her move, I was at her house almost every day, helping her unpack and settle into her new home, and helping her find all the necessary connections (a new doctor, the closest grocery store, a new bank, etc.) that moving to a new state entails.  These days, I’m not at her house as often, but we talk several times a week on the phone, eat dinner together often, and I drop by her house regularly to see if she needs anything or just to visit.  We both like to watch HGTV and sometimes I help her with a jigsaw puzzle, but other times we just sit and talk.

MomThe mother-daughter relationship is always a complicated one, and I suspect that each mother-daughter relationship is also unique.  When I was very young, our household was busy and my mother had her hands full with raising her own three kids, plus a niece and a nephew.  Later, she added to her work load by going back to school to get her masters degree in Education so she could support my father when he quit his job to go to Seminary.     My mother was there when I needed her, but we didn’t spend a lot of time together, and we weren’t especially close.  And of course, once I became a teenager, I was far too cool to listen to anything my mother had to say anyway.

So now it seems that in many ways, I have been given a wonderful gift of being able to spend time with her, as two adults, and get to know her more as an individual, rather than simply as my mother.  She tells me stories of her family and her early life (sometimes the same story several times, but repeating stories is a privilege of the aged).  I always knew my mother was a hard worker, but I am still in awe of how active she is in her church, and how willing she is to take on new responsibilities.  I see how much time she makes for the friends in her life, always reaching out to them when she knows they are dealing with something hard.

DSC01665My mother will be turning eighty-six this summer, so I know that our time together is not unlimited.  I know that she will become more dependent on my help as she ages, and that is nothing more than the natural order of life.  But whatever the future brings, what I know most of all is that I am so very grateful that I have her close by now, and that I will always have the memories of these past few years together.

 

29 thoughts on “A New Perspective

  1. Such nice thoughts about your relationship with your mother. You are so fortunate to have your mother close by, and to be able to get to know each other as two adults! A wonderful tribute on Mother’s Day!

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  2. It is very interesting for me too to live near my Mom after so many years. It’s still not always easy… She seems to revert back to the past and how I annoyed her. It’s weird for me at these moments, and hurtful. I don’t get it, but I try hard not to engage. It was all so long ago, but she seems to hold onto past memories that pain her! I am trying hard to live now, especially with her (I have plenty of painful memories myself) and create new and happy memories to carry me forward. Enjoy these days with your Mom for sure… they are precious!

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    • It can be hard to forge a new relationship, especially when the past gets in the way. My mother and I struggle with that as well. But I find that with patience, we do move forward into new and more rewarding ways of relating to each other. Hang in there, it does get better! And for me, it helps to remember that we are given the chance to make a new relationship, and that so many others are denied that chance. Hope you had a good Mother’s Day!

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  3. If that’s a photo of your mom at 86, I want what she’s been drinking..:) she looks terrific and I’m glad you’ve had the chance in recent years to spend so much time with her. I like what you said about how repeating stories is a privilege of the aged.
    She sounds like she has so much life in her body and soul. God bless her.

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    • You are so funny! That photo was taken she she was in her late thirties or early forties, I’m not quite sure. But dang, wouldn’t it be nice to look like that at 86! (And her dog, Penny, does look pretty good in the second photo…)
      Honestly, I am amazed at how well she gets along at her age. She is still very independent, and assures me that she intends to stay that way for a long, long time. Here’s hoping!

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  4. What a lovely post on your Mother Ann. I feel as though you’ve given us such a wonderful snippet into your life with your relationship to your mum. Our relationship with our mothers is so different when we’re growing up, it’s not until we’re much older we can appreciate them more fully. How wonderful that you now have this opportunity to really get to know her, woman to woman.

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    • Exactly! When we are young, we judge them only by how we see them, and how (we think) they relate to us. Which is, I suppose, natural. But then we grow up, and are given the chance to see them as a whole person. It really is a gift. And I’m so sorry that you are no longer able to relate that way to your own mom. I can’t imagine how hard that is, and hope that all your good memories help.

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      • Oh Ann, life is so precious. I’ve actually just returned from seeing mum and each time it just breaks my heart. But I hold tight to my memories of the woman she was. Treasure your mum, as I’m sure you do, I hope you get to create many more happy memories with her. xo

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  5. I’m glad that you and your mother have been able to come closer together (both geographically and in terms of your relationship) over the last few years. I’ve always had a close relationship with my parents, but we have lived far apart for several decades. I miss them all the time, but at least technology has made it much easier to keep in touch than it once was. 🙂

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    • I’m so sorry, Bun, but for some reason your comment got stuck in my spam folder, and I didn’t notice it before I left for my trip. Hopefully, future comments will go through without a hitch. I’ve noticed that when I comment on your blog I get a little notice saying I’m sending it unsecured, and I have to mark “send” manually. Not sure what is going on, but I sure don’t want to miss your comments! And I’m glad you have such a close relationship with your parents..that is so important, and we don’t always remember to value that.

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      • Thanks for letting me know, Ann. I’m sure there’s a slight adjustment that has to be made to one of the settings somewhere. I’ll look into it right away (which probably means I’ll find the correct answer by the last Tuesday of this month). 🙂

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          • Thanks, Ann. I hope so too. This problem with Spam and the one people sometimes have when leaving comments on my site have been rumbling on for a while. I really want to get to the bottom of them soon. 🙂

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