Friday, January 26, 2007

Mothers and daughters

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the nature of mother/daughter relationships. I honestly think that the relationship between a mother and daughter has to be among the most complex of relationships and at the same time the most basic. Nothing could be more basic than the absolute, unconditional love I have for my two daughters, it’s there, non-negotiable, solid as a rock. Yet at the same time, each of these relationships is extremely complex and challenging. A couple of issues in my family have got me thinking along these rather philosophical lines.

Firstly, my own mother is not well and suddenly our usual roles are being reversed. I have always had an exceedingly capable, sometimes difficult, often rather demanding mom. Although we haven't always had the most comfortable of relationships, it has generally been a close one. Due to the nature of her illness, she has become frail, needy, forgetful and incapable of performing some very basic tasks. Both of us are having a hard time adapting to this new scenario; she is proud and does not want to acknowledge the situation she finds herself in, I am impatient and want her to accept help gratefully and gracefully, which she doesn't. There is a certain irony in the fact that my notoriously impatient mother is the catalyst for my learning patience in abundance!

The other mother-daughter issue “on the go”, is the fact that my eldest daughter, who will finish school this year, has decided that she wants to move away from home next year. The notion of her being independent and 100kms away from home is just so scary for me! On the one hand, I am really excited for her and we have been browsing around pricing fridges, sussing out accommodation options, trying to convince her dad that this is a good idea etc etc, but on the other hand, I am very aware of all the “dangers” lurking out there and I would far rather have her nearby where I can keep an eye on things. It’s lie awake at night stuff!! I suppose this is a typical motherly reaction – well I am convincing myself that it is anyway ;-)

Life would be so much simpler if these type of issues were clear-cut and unemotional – this is the way things are going to be from now on, get over it, no fuss. But it just doesn’t work like that – there are all these emotions and unspoken fears going on under the surface. I suppose it’s the nature of the relationship…

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