I had gone 39 years without having a major fight with my mother. Sure, when I was a teenager, we fought. But that was more of an annoyance for me – clean your room! Don’t steal the car again! Do your homework! Whose cigarettes are these? But we always made up and I usually talked to my mother almost daily as an adult. That is until the day I came home from the hospital with my newborn son, after spending three days in the hospital, following a c-section.
We had the blowout of all blowouts and for a few days I actually contemplated disowning my mother.
One of my other friends also had a major blowout with her mother the day she came home from the hospital after giving birth, and she hasn’t talked to her mother in over a year now. My friend and I talked about our fights with our mothers and wondered why oh why did they have to start with us on the worst day possible. Not only are you completely hormonal after having a baby, you are sleep deprived, and coming off drugs, and really, there are better times to get mad at your daughters. Another woman I know also recently got into a huge fight with her mother, who she used to talk to daily as well, and now they barely talk or see each other at all. This woman is 46 years old.
I won’t get into exactly what my mother’s problem was with me (only to say there was a litany of complaints.) I was so upset, bawling my eyes out, that my fiancé had to take the phone away from me and tell my mother that now wasn’t the best time to talk to me. Perhaps my mother did have some valid points. However, it was the timing and what she said – some things were so harsh and hurtful – that I wonder if I can ever forgive her and my father (who backed up my mother) completely. We still talk now, but not every day. The conversations are stilted and awkward, and the visits are few and far between.
My mother’s complaints about me, no matter how valid, could have waited for a better time, perhaps a week later since apparently her problems with me have stemmed back for years. Why not wait to tell me her issues with me when I’m rested and feeling better? Not right after I had major surgery? Also, when you are an adult, you realize that issues are a two-way street. While she yelled at me for things that she thought I was at fault for, I yelled at her for things she was at fault for. As an adult, you are stronger and can argue more coherently than when you are a teenager. No longer can you just say to your mother, “You’re a bitch! I hate you!” because that is childish.
I never saw this fight with my mother coming, especially at this age. I couldn’t believe we almost got to the point of disowning each other. What happened after was this. We didn’t talk for more than a week (it seemed like months to me.) I had never been so hurt and angry in my life, and I’m sure my mother felt the same way. So what we did, basically, was eventually apologize to each other tearfully and basically swept the problems we had with each other under the rug. In some ways, it’s just easier to do that, no matter what any therapist may say.
The problem is we still do get together for family gatherings, including birthday parties for family, or have to see each other at children’s concerts for example. I want my parents to be part of my children’s lives, but the truth is, I wonder if our relationship will ever be the same. Truthfully, I can still barely look them in the eyes, remembering what they had said to me five months ago. So family gatherings, including Thanksgiving, must be hard on many families in positions like mine. If I know a handful of grown women who have gotten into major fights with their parents at our age, there must be many others who have as well.
What depresses me the most is thinking that one day that could happen to my daughter and I. That’s the one thing that makes me try hard to forgive my parents for picking the absolutely wrong time to decide to tell me all their “issues” with me. I’m still hurt, but at family gatherings I do try my best. And maybe I should be thankful that at least, no matter how painful it is for me to still be in the same room as them, we can be in the same room. Unlike two of my friends who haven’t talked to or seen their parents in over a year.
So, all I can say, is be grateful this Thanksgiving if you do get along with your parents and haven’t had the big blow out that has changed your relationship possibly forever. It is sad, but I guess it happens.