The little event that prompted this post happened a couple of months ago.
It was the first shared weekend at the farm, perhaps the March long weekend if memory serves me correctly. The house was full, David and myself, Luke, Jeremy and David’s cousin his wife and two of their kids – lots of fun being had. After the cousin’s had gone home Jeremy was scowling. I had asked him to do something, pick up his shoes maybe, and I received a snappy “watch your language when you talk to me”.
I fired up, I do not cope with unjustified touchiness.
Snap, snap, harsh words being passed, thinking to myself “I don’t have these fights with my eldest”, tears welling.
“You said ‘she’ “.
“Jeremy, you have to be patient. This all takes getting used to, I am trying but I will make mistakes”. Then I realised – you took my baby away. You, with that familiar but alien face, familiar but alien attitude. I feel that I have had to change in a microsecond, where is my love, consideration, support? Who makes the path smooth for me? Who has hard conversations with health professionals,family members, your father? Not you, you have an expectation that I will make it all ok, and damn those who cross you…….
I cried. Who knew I was so angry and so sad, so resentful. How can you love your someone so much and just need them to go away? Well, every parent in the world has those moments. I had them with Kati.
In embracing Jeremy I gave away a million joys and secret hopes, getting our nails done, excessive chocolate consumption in the name of “girl stuff”, cuddling down to watch a movie that made us cry, that one day I would be a mother of the bride, and watch my blonde baby walk down an aisle and say I do to someone who loved her totally, to be the proud and doting grandmother to her children, to receive phone calls where she said “Oh Mum, how did you do it” seeking affirmation and advice. I am so close to my own mum and never realised that I held dear so many ideas about what I hoped for my relationship with my daughter. Things I held so dear and hopes I didn’t even know I had.
Mothers love their children unconditionally. But I have witnessed the special bond between mothers and daughters, especially when those daughters become mothers. My mother has been such a godsend from the moment that she laid eyes on the tiny wrinkled bundle that we named Luke William. She kept her distance in many areas but loves her grand-babies and is unstintingly supportive. I had looked forward to that relationship with my daughter, being the cool grandparent who had a full and exciting life that encompassed a generation of beautiful babies I could love and hand back. I still will have that in part with Luke but it will be different, his wife will not be my daughter, she will have her own special relationship with her own mother.
So that afternoon, in the stark realisation that I was grieving, I asked Jeremy for tolerance and time. It was a wake up call for us both. He saw me as an adult who was lost in a sea of emotions while striving to be supportive and loving, not just “mum” the person who makes all things right.
We have a happy ending from that afternoon, Jeremy is far more tolerant. He knows that sometimes people will make a mistake, and it will be unintentional and how the relationship is managed from there lies in his hands. When people make a slip and apologise he smiles and says “don’t stress, I don’t” and put people at ease. I have made great strides in reconciling my ideas of parenting my youngest that I cherished for fifteen years to the reality that I face now. The hugs are undiminished in number.