I saw my mum today for the first time in 4 months. We met for breakfast. I felt a little awkward and nervous for a while and noticed that I struggled to maintain eye contact with her for long.
It struck me how I feel I barely know her anymore – since we have grown more and more distant over the last few years.
We chatted about various things, but nothing too heavy and we didn’t speak about one another’s husbands – neither did she ask about my stepchildren as is normal.
When it came to us leaving she suddenly burst into tears and really, really sobbed. I was so shocked and wasn’t at all prepared as she’s not done this before when we’ve met up.
She cried and said how much she misses me and how she wishes she could see me more and for longer than “just breakfast”. I said “well you never text me” which came out before I had thought it through, she said “I do! All the time”. I then said “mum you always just want to go out drinking and I don’t want to do that” to which she said “I don’t” and cried more.
We hugged a bit and I made sure she was okay to drive and told her we could go shopping or something soon and she agreed and nodded and wiped her tears and then she drove off and I went to my own car. After she drove off, I also burst into tears and sat in the car for a while to compose myself.
I’ve felt sad all day since that happened. Seeing my mother so sad and vulnerable has got to me. I know many people would say that it’s manipulation or crocodile tears, and maybe it is, but it felt genuine. I think she really does miss me but it’s hard because obviously I separated/distanced myself for a reason.
It’s hard. I guess in some ways we both want the same thing: to see each other more and be closer, but our ideas of how that plays out in real life are quite different. So much has changed and so much damage has been done.
Us both not liking or being willing to see the other’s husband really doesn’t help matters, but in my case there’s absolutely no chance my husband will ever, ever, see her again. He’s very clear on that point.
Maybe I’m being really naive but maybe she has mellowed and softened a little with some age and a lot of distance. I wish things could be a bit better than they are but I just don’t know how.
It can still make me cry as I replay that scene at her car. I don’t know how I stayed so calm and composed at the time – once she had driven off I felt like my heart was breaking. I’ve worried since that I must have seemed so cold and uncaring but I’m not – I care a lot but I probably didn’t seem like it.
My mum is not one to cry. She never used to her upset or be vulnerable and certainly when it came to me. Her crying over missing me is very hard for me because it’s like affection and care and love I wanted and needed my entire life but could never get from her, what do you do with that now?
I don’t want to punish my mother for my childhood forever. I don’t think that’s helpful for either of us but so much is different and so much has happened! I know that just because she’s cried shouldn’t change a thing, but it’s making me question whether she’s different now and I know that even writing that makes me sound like a textbook case!!! “Maybe this time is different”, or “maybe she’s changed” – I know… ugh.