My time as an active day-to-day mom is in the past. My own mother died 15 years ago. When you do your job right, you render yourself unnecessary – my mom said that about motherhood. The child becomes an adult with a partner or family that is the center if their life, exactly as it should be. Time to move on.
I have a box of old family letters in the closet that I should maybe get rid of. They certainly don’t spark joy. Some are hurtful, even mean.
The past. Do the old letters, old books, old things, connect me to the Past? Why do I want that – am I going to forget my childhood if I don’t keep old detritus around? And why would forgetting some things be a big deal?
I have lots of current projects and ideas for the future, but I’m haunted by the fear that I was a generally Bad Mother – wounding and harmful rather than nurturing and inspiring. I’ve sought therapy, not to resolve gripes about my parents, but to figure out if I was really so awful. I’ve done searching moral inventories of my mistakes.
But why? Why can I forgive myself for normal failings, since most of the time things were okay, even good, and my mistakes were well within normal range?
I think it goes back to accepting that the whole mother with children thing is over.
So, Big Realizations. First, as long as I participate in drama, I’m not coming to grips with the reality that the only healthy relationship for adults is an adult one. Secondly, I can unilaterally withdraw from the drama.
I can burn old letters. I can let go of drama that serves only to perpetuate long-outgrown roles. I can engage less with the past and more with the future. I can stay on my side of the street.
Happy Mother’s Day – we all do our best, and we all benefit by forgiving ourselves.