My mom is here this week, taking care of the kids during the day while their dad is on vacation.
I’ve been thinking since she got here about how our relationship has changed in the past few years. When my older son was born seven years ago she became my main advisor on parenting and being a mother. I saw her as someone who’d been about as happy as was possible being a SAHM. (I now know she was lonely and isolated a lot of the time, but that’s a big part of the SAHM burden, and I think she weathered it as well as anyone could.)
But there was a big distance between us that had always been there, but was getting worse. As much as I needed her, I couldn’t be honest about my marriage and how toxic it was. So we did the same dance we’d always done–I pretended I knew what I was doing, and she let me have space because she thought I knew what I was doing.
I was terrified to tell her I was getting a divorce. I floated it to her as we were cooking on Thanksgiving morning 2006, and she was horrified. But when I called to tell her and my dad “for real” a few weeks later, she stepped up. And she was my champion, the one who kept telling me she knew I could do it, that it was worth it, that *I* was worth chewing my foot off to get out of the trap.
Since then our relationship has been unfolding and refolding in new ways. As we come to new insights about each other and ourselves. The irony is that I need her less now–we’re not enmeshed in the immature way we were. But I value her more.
I’m wondering if this is common for our relationship with parents or parent figures to become looser and more dynamic as we weather the crap-pile of life together. What has been your experience?