Two kids on the floor putting their heads together

When I think of my relationship with my mom, I think of the beauty of its evolution. I think of the blessing of the things that have remained constant. In the many phases of life throughout my childhood, school, sports, college and my adult life, there are such beautiful elements of our relationship that have remained true.

Because of the foundation we created, there is so much that has evolved so beautifully as well. In that evolution, we have found an even more true and beautiful version of our relationship. 

Reflecting on my life and our relationship throughout time, I find so much comfort in the things that have remained the same. I can count on my mom’s response being the same when I apologize for anything frivolous, “Save feeling bad for when you’ve actually messed up. This is no big deal.” She is the ultimate grace giver.

I find so much comfort in the things that have remained the same.

I can count on her optimism, a trait we both share. It’s a similarity that always seems to bring us closer. Simultaneously, it fills the other’s cup when one of us might be a little low on positivity.

I can count on her ability to find her level-headedness just in time. My mom has always felt that thinking is overrated and going off feelings is definitely her comfort zone. She’d tell you herself that her feelings guide her and can sometimes overwhelm her.

However, when I’m thinking too much or feeling too much, nine times out of 10, she has a way of being the rational one or giving me the space to feel without the overwhelm. It’s an art form she’s just about mastered to show up well for my sister and I. 

It’s an art form she’s just about mastered to show up well for my sister and I. 

Now that I’ve gotten a little older, I see clearly how these constants have been the foundation on which I stand, and while these consistent pieces of our relationship have brought me so much joy, so has our growth and evolution.

As you get older, there comes a moment when you realize your mom is, in fact, imperfect. She battles the occasional insecurity. She says something she wishes she could take back and she has things she’s processing inside—just like the rest of us. 

It is in her imperfection that I have gotten to see her full humanity, and it is there that the container of our relationship has expanded. This is beautiful and hard. As a child, when I still saw my mom as infallible, things were constant and certain. Now, there is room for failure from both of us, and a new, more authentic and honest relationship has emerged. 

It is in her imperfection that I have gotten to see her in her full humanity.

There is now room for both of us to give each other grace. Both of us have the space to hold up the mirror lovingly. And I quite honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I know that the constants of our relationship will continue to hold me up, and the evolution of our relationship will continue to bring us closer. Most importantly though, my standard of what it means to show up for the people I love is high because of her.

How have the dynamics of your relationship with your parent or parental figure changed in time? What changes when you start to see the fallibility of your parents?

Image via Prakash Shroff, Darling Issue No. 16

1 comment

  1. Throughout growing up and my young adult years I felt I had a close and special bond with my mother. Friends would comment on it. I was the first daughter and old enough to relate and communicate with my mom when she went through divorcing my dad. We are both deeply sensitive and empathic, and we enjoy creating beautiful things. But in my twenties things began to shift. My mom had a hysterectomy, and after that she became a much less kind person. Supposedly cells from a mother’s children live in her womb for like 25 years after giving birth. It wasn’t lost on me that any remaining actual physical, cellular bond with my mom was lost in that surgery. I began doing my own personal work to process trauma from my childhood, and my mom just couldn’t understand and be okay with that and the changes I began to make to be healthy. She was not willing to do her own work or make safe space for mine. The political and social tensions of the last two years have further widened the gap between us. Now we barely talk, and recently a big family event happened and my mom didn’t attempt to call me or communicate with me at all about it. It’s a beautiful thing if that mother-daughter relationship can evolve, but a really sad experience if one of you evolves and the other is unwilling. My mom didn’t have a healthy relationship with her mom, and now she’s repeating the pattern.

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