The relationship between a mother and daughter is not at all like that of a mother and son. A mother and daughter understand each other on a different level, and sometimes the hurt they cause one another is deeper.
Mom asked for me today while she was talking to my brother on the phone. I haven’t called her in a long time, and avoid talking to her when she’s talking to my brother or sister-in-law. I was rude to her today, although technically there’s no reason for me to be. We haven’t been in a fight. We haven’t even been talking. Yet all the things I’ve been hearing from other people lately together with the perception I have of how mom has changed has stored all this resentment inside me that somehow got a little outburst today. It wasn’t fair toward her. She’s doing what she thinks is right; as am I. And as always, I’m supposed to be the wiser and more mature person who understands all of this and reacts accordingly. Yet this primitive sense of me being the daughter and her being the mother takes over at times and makes me forget it. All the diplomacy I have taught myself disappears at times when I think that in fact, I’m the one being treated unjustly. But that’s a card I shall have hidden. When she strikes with full force, so will I. Because we owe each other.
It’s so difficult for me to discuss things with normal girls because they don’t have the same kind of relationship with their mothers as I do. I understand her better than she understands herself, and I know that age has affected her earlier than it does other people because of the stress she has carried all her life. She might be 54, but her mind is at least ten years older. The drugs don’t really contribute in making things better. No… in the long term they have clouded her mind even more.
I scold mom as much as she has scolded me once. The problem is that it doesn’t work. She refuses to believe that her mind is not as it once was. She lives, as she has all her life, in a “what-if” world. And that’s scary because I do that too. I don’t want to be doing that for the rest of my life… like her.
But I can’t keep track of her anymore. I have given up, because she refuses to accept my help. Time and again I have advised her to make the right choices, but she acts immaturely. I learned a long time ago that I’m the wiser one among us, and at times my mom sees that. And maybe that makes her a little bit intimidated of me. Because in her world, she’s still the mom and I’m still the daughter.
The only one seeing what she’s actually going through is me. Nobody else understands her mood swings or sudden changes of heart. A more dominant daughter wouldn’t have let her do whatever she wants, but I respect her as a mother… at least as the mother she once was. I cannot let that image of her perish. So I sit idly by, trying to control my emotions. Because that’s what a good daughter does.