Dearest mums, moms, mamas, and mommas
I want to write a letter to you all on behalf of all the adult daughters like me. Once in a while I get stumped on what it means to be a daughter when I no longer need you to drive me places and take care of me like when I was a child. It seems easy for young children to relate to their mothers, but how do we “grown ups” relate to our mothers in a way that works?
I know that our ability to navigate this primary relationship is not a smooth ride for many, but there is no escaping that this is a sacred relationship that cannot be left by the wayside if we want to have any decent crack at self-actualization. It’s no light supper and I’m sure to miss out on many details, but like you’ve told us before, it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all, so here’s what I want to say…
It’s pretty remarkable…
…how many cool things we’ve discovered since we began our existence on Earth. Our knowledge base is always expanding, our viewpoints are always changing, there’s even a saying that goes “the only constant is change.” But throughout the millions of years one thing has not changed – and that’s the fact that we all got here because of you, our mothers. It doesn’t matter if you’re an astronaut, a president, a cavewoman, a sailor, an investment banker or a sharman – we all got here because our mother brought us into this world. Despite all our smarts and all the high-tech gadgets we’ve made, we cannot make a new human being. Mothers are the only people who can. And that’s just phenomenal.
Even though we know this, somehow we all take it for granted. Since we’re all here, we take your pregnancy for granted, we take the birthing process for granted, we take our upbringing for granted, as if we were all angelic little snoozers as babies. I have felt like this in the past, and I guess it’s only once you become a mother yourself that you realize “shit this stuff is really hard. I’ve definitely taken my mama for granted.”
Our relationship with you…
…is the first human contact we experience. You literally bring us to life. Regardless of our beliefs, we’re inextricably linked to you and cannot escape this connection through circumstance, geography or even death. Many of us might have never thought about our relationship with you in this light, so we just want to let you know that we’re starting to see it like that and that we are honouring it.
In our youth…
…many of us swore to ourselves that we do not want to be like you, but as we mature we realize that we are exactly like you (whether we like it or not). To distance ourselves from you is like running away from our own DNA and our own existence. We might not fully understand this right now, but trust us, we’ll come around.
So many of us, me included…
…felt shame and resentment towards you. Places where we felt “you did us wrong”, where you embarrassed us, where we thought you lied to us, where we thought you weren’t there for us, where we felt you were impossible to please. We hold these grudges like a heavy suitcase and we carry it with us everywhere we go as adults. We now realize that all the grudge we hold onto is exactly that – we are holding onto it. Seems so obvious that in order to let them go, we have to let them go, not to wait for apologies or for someone or something to change.
Looking at it now with more earthly eyes, it’s crazy the high standards we held you up to. Yes you are our mother, but you are also a human being. We can now understand that the choices you made in the past were not selfish, unloving, or insensitive to our feelings. We did not see all the things that you were going through, how you were feeling at the time, what you believed in then, the lenses through which you were seeing the world, or the fear and pain that you were grappling with. You did the best you could in the circumstances, but we couldn’t see that.
Sorry it’s taken so long to figure that out.
We might have…
…judged or looked down upon your flaws like we were so much “better than”. They annoyed the heck out of us and we wished you would change. But after much introspection, we realize that our frustration at you is really a reflection of our own flaws that we despise.
Oh gawwwd. We are so sorry.
This is a lightbulb moment – when we realize that our resentment for you has nothing to do with you, but everything do to with us.
We’re beginning to see that our perception of you through our eyes of judgement and un-acceptance of our own flaws is the problem. We mistakenly thought that it was you who needed to change. But that is so far from the truth. We’re slowly coming to realize that to have a more open, loving and compassionate relationship with you, it is we who have to evolve ourselves and find more love, compassion, and unconditional acceptance for ourselves.
We can’t imagine the pain this has caused you. Thank you for continuing to love us unconditionally despite our own lack of self-love.
Sorry for trying to “fix” our relationship…
… or trying to make you “better”. With the eyes of judgement and criticism it’s no wonder we thought that there was something “wrong” with our relationship, that we were somehow falling short of what a mother-daughter relationship should be. After running around in circles for so long we’ve finally come to realize that nothing was ever “wrong”. Nothing needed to change for us to “work”. As we grow more mature and more conscious, we’re coming to our senses that there is no “gold standard” relationship, and that our imperfect relationship is in fact, and has always been, perfect.
We finally see things a bit more clearly: There is no destination, it’s always a journey, and every journey is different and every journey has its ups and downs. That’s how it’s supposed to be. So ma…
We love and accept you exactly the way you are. And we accept our sacred relationship exactly as it is.
It’s not easy for anyone to navigate smoothly through this relationship, and that’s perfectly OK. In fact, it’s the challenges that makes it all the more fulfilling and meaningful.
To my own mama, I love you. I’m so sorry I could not see you through the eyes of love and unconditional acceptance for such a long time. Hang with me, I’m slowly coming around. (oh no, here come the tears…)
And to all our mothers, we love you.
With open hearts (and teary eyes),
Your adult daughters
If you wanna read more about the amazing-ness of the mother-daughter relationship and how it affects e-v-e-r-y aspect of our lives here are some great articles: