Today is my oldest daughter’s 22nd birthday. I’m filled with joy, I’m filled with awe, I’m filled with wonder, I’m filled with love and more than that, I’m filled with a knowledge of the miraculous. But, with those wonderful feelings… a sadness persists. A sadness that creeps into my heart and turns to anger. Turns to a knowledge that I will never have what I want so very much.
My heart is heavy as I feel how much I love my own daughter. Heavy as I remember the miracle that was given to me to be able to carry her in my body, to see her in her first moment, to know I grew a life inside of me. I feel so much love and pride in her as I watch her grow into the person she has become so far. I hurt knowing that love for her, and also knowing I will never feel that from my own mother, my mother who doesn’t see me. Has no idea who I am. She overlooked me and forgot about me when I finally grew into someone to be proud of.
As a child, she did all the right things for me, cooked, went to events, ironed and cleaned, but did not give me what was most important, her heart. All the doing in the world is empty if emotional support is missing. Her care giving, her acceptance and her unconditional love was missing. In the midst of all that doing, she forgot to love me.
I can remember a visit after not seeing her for well over a year, and when I saw her it was like seeing a stranger. A stranger that doesn’t like me very much. I visualized the reunion with hugs, words of love and her emotions spilling over onto me. I don’t know why I might think I’d get it, I guess wishful thinking, because why would this visit be any different than all the other visits? I told her during that trip that all I wanted from her was to be celebrated, to be hugged and told how much I am loved. Upon hearing me, she looked me in the eye and said, “That’s just not how I am”. I cried, I asked her for something that I needed. Something I wanted so very much and she responded.
All that was left was for me to believe her. As hard as that is to hear, as much as is angers and saddens me, I must believe her. She says she does not have it in her to love me. In truth, she chose, and I finally choose to believe her.