I subscribe to a blog called "The Fairfield House". Another friend mentioned the blog on her blog. I checked it out and decided to subscribe to the posts.
This morning's post the writer talks about her father who suffered a major stroke some years ago and although he recovered from the stroke, he had to have everything done for him. She says she had a very strained relationship with her father.
The post made me think about my mother who died in 2002. I had a love/hate relationship with her. She was constantly unhappy with me about something. Our relationship was so strained most of the time, that we would go years without speaking to each other. There were times when our relationship was very good. Times when I could call her, crying about something and she listened and offered advice and comfort.
I questioned her love, did she really love me, did she really care. I wanted so much for her to show me that she loved me. She came to California for a visit once and was so critical and judgmental about everything I did. I got so upset with her because she would sit in her room all day and seldom spend anytime with me or Denise. This one day I was so overwhelmed with my frustration that I verbally attacked her. All the things that I had bottled up over the years came spewing out. It was not a pretty sight. She went back home soon after that incident and we didn't speak for a long time. Who could blame her?
She was always very stern with us kids, me especially. I don't remember her smiling much.
On Mother's Day some years after this paticular incident I was so overwhelmed with emotion and knew I had to call her and ask for her forgiveness and to say that I forgave her too. I really didn't need to forgive her for anything, she had not done anything wrong. After that phone call, our relationship improved somewhat. The thing I learned from that conversation was that my mother did love me and she showed it in the best way she knew how. It may not have been what I wanted or how I wanted her to demonstrate her love to me. However, her way of demonstrating her love was the best it was going to be.
There were more occasions of her being unhappy with me before she died. I saw her for the last time in 2000. She was in a nursing home by this time. The one thing I wanted from her was for her to know me when I saw her and to know that I was there. I saw her in the hospital in 1999 and she didn't know who I was. My younger sister and I drove out to the nursing home. Mom was sitting outside. She knew my sister was going for a visit, she didn't know I would be with my sister. When I got out of the car, she had a big smile on her face and said to me "I knew you were coming". I asked her if she knew who I was, she said "yes, you're my daughter Betty" I said "where do I live?" and she said "California". My prayer was answered. I spent a week at home and each time I saw her, she knew me. Before she got sick, in her letters she would tell me she loved me.
My daughter, Denise and I have always had a very close relationship. Being a single mom for a lot of years, I was strict and stern also. I probably didn't smile a lot either. However, I truly believe that Denise knows without a shadow of a doubt that I love her and always have. We have always been affectionate with each other, which was one thing that my mother was not and I wanted it so badly. Whenever I told her "no" she couldn't do something she wanted, I always made sure to tell her it was because I loved and cared for her and wanted her to be safe.
It was such a joy when I realized I could have an adult relationship with Denise. Over the years she has called to sometimes ask for advice, ask for prayer and sometimes just unload. I call those calls "Daughter needs Mom". She has also in turn given advice when warranted.
Over the years I have watched her interact with her children when I've been visiting. She is affectionate, supportive, stern when she needs to be and most of all lets her children know she loves them unconditionally. My granddaughter refers to her mom as her "40 year old BFF". (best friend forever). Nathanael is very close to Denise also.
Being a Mom is not an easy job. So much is involved in the task. I think the greatest task in being a mom is to love your children unconditionally and to let them know it in everything a Mom does. My daughter is my greatest joy and I love her unconditionally!! Always have and always will!!
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