My daughter informed me today that she wants a new mom.
She thinks I'm mean.
That I ruin things for her.
That I make people leave her.
That it's my fault she's hurting.
And I so don't want to hear this.
I want her to love me.
I want her to think I'm amazing. Funny. Loving.
I want to tell her my story. About me. About us.
I want her to agree with my version.
I want her to want to be my daughter.
She wants a different mom.
And I want a different daughter.
This is what we do to each other.
We hold the other responsible for our own confusion.
We blame the other for what we think has gone wrong.
We point fingers at each other instead of at ourselves.
She thinks that if I changed - she'd feel better.
I think if she changed - I'd feel better.
The truth is:
She's allowed to not want me as a mom.
She's allowed to think that her life would be better without me.
She's allowed to think that I'm the cause of her suffering.
Millions of people think the same things about their mom.
I used to be one of them.
This thinking never gave me a different mom, though. It never made my mom better. It never made her do what I thought she should do. It never made her stop doing what I thought she shouldn't do.
It just made me miserable.
I have a lot of compassion for the pain my girl is feeling. I know how awful it is to believe that story. And I know I won't be able to help her find relief from her own pain if I'm in a hurry to have her love me the way I want her to - for my own sake.
My job isn't to persuade her to believe that I'm a great mom.
I can't convince her of that.
Nor should I.
My job is to be her mom - whether she likes it or not.
To allow her to be my daughter - as is. Without the extra mom-loving modifications that I'm asking for today.
My job is to relieve her of the impossible duty of making me feel good.
And to teach her how to do the same.
To love her.
And to keep loving her.
No matter what.