Mother/daughter relationships. They are by far the most unique of relationships that exist. My relationship with my mother is no different. It has certainly evolved over the years. We have had good and bad times and everything that falls in between. Our relationship has truly come full circle in the last (almost) 40 years, but I am grateful for the journey that we have been on.
My parents divorced when I was pretty young. I truly don’t remember the two of them being together, but I do recall that they had an amicable parenting plan. It was decided that I would live primarily with my mother, and my father would have visitation on certain weekdays and every other weekend. In my younger years, I don’t think I suffered much from having divorced parents. I believe they did everything they could to ensure that my childhood was as normal as possible. I remember wondering why my parents lived separately, but I also had friends that never questioned it.
From what I could see, my mom and my grandma had an amazing relationship. They always laughed, and I could tell that my mom respected my grandma and held her with the highest regard. I too respected my mom (and still do), but our relationship was far from what it is now in many ways while I was growing up.
My mom grew up in a very structured household. There were five of them, and with my mom being the second oldest, she carried much of the household’s responsibility while my grandparents worked. She cared for her younger siblings, cooked, cleaned, and had many chores to keep their family afloat. This all carried over into my upbringing as well.
As an only child of a working mom, I had many responsibilities and chores (as do most kids). When I started getting into my teenage years, I began to resent having to skip time with friends due to doing chores. Combined with this feeling, I never really had to do any chores at my father’s house when visiting him. While the two of them did their best, they did differ in certain opinions of my responsibilities as I grew older.
One particular time stands out as the breaking point in my relationship with my mom, that I am certainly not proud of. When I was around 15 or 16, I wanted to go out with my friends; however, my mom had other plans, as my chores for the week were not finished. In addition, she didn’t like the crowd I would be spending time with. We got into a huge blowout argument. Words were said on my end that I didn’t even want to repeat.
In my rebellious teenage years, my words didn’t matter to me. I wanted what I wanted. After some back and forth, my parents and I felt it would be best if I started living primarily with my dad. My mom and I could not get along, and looking back, it was the best move for everyone.
I didn’t have much of a relationship with my mom for the remainder of my high school years. I still saw her, but our relationship was certainly broken by the words I had thrown at her when I moved out. I went to college and eventually moved to the city of Chicago from the suburbs. My mom lived in the city then, so our relationship was re-established once I was closer to her. But, as we had before, we still struggled with our differences. We had (and at times, still do) different opinions on certain aspects of life, and neither of us (mostly me) wanted to see the other’s side.
The most defining moment of our relationship was when I became a mother. My mom was there with me every step of the way (including my oldest daughter’s birth!), and I felt like our relationship had been reborn. She didn’t interfere with how I did things with my daughter but offered her advice and a shoulder to cry on when needed. Becoming a mother gave me a new respect for my own mother; all of the decisions she had to make for me growing up. I finally understood.
In 2018, I moved to Connecticut with my family. Surprisingly, our relationship has only strengthened. She visits my children frequently, and recently, going through my own personal turmoil, she has been a pillar of strength for me. She is the first person I call when I am having a bad day, a good day, or anything in between. I value her opinion, and I hope she values mine!
While still a mother/daughter, our relationship has evolved into a unique friendship. But don’t get me wrong; she is the first to yell at me when I mistakenly say a swear in front of her!