>My mother and I had a rocky relationship for many years. It started when I was about 10 and lasted until I was about 25. Some of the problem came from the fact that my mum is not, and has never been, a mum mum – she doesn’t bake cookies (unless forced to), make big Sunday potroasts, call every week, or say mum type things, supportive or critical. And some of the problem came from the fact that I haven’t seen my parents as parents since I was about 10. They were (and really still are) just people in my life who happen to have given birth to me – more friends then parental figures.
But much of the problem was because we were both lost. Mum was in a marriage that didn’t really work for her and had nothing that was her own. When my parents separated in 1998, my mum sort of fell apart for about six months and leaned heavily on me for emotional support. I can’t say I was much help, given that I didn’t think her marriage was worth saving anyways. I was even less supportive when my parents got back together a year later and basically stopped talking to everyone. Mum, to her credit, went back to university and found her passion in life – neuropsychology. This improved our relationship somewhat but she was still having issues with Dad and didn’t take kindly to my suggestions that maybe, just maybe, her and Dad weren’t right for each other. Meanwhile, I was floundering through life as a hairdresser, barista and coatcheck girl in Toronto, hating myself and my shitty relationship and, well, everything. Calling home meant listening to more problems I just didn’t have the strength to deal with so I didn’t call. And so we drifted along.
I admit that for ages I longed to have one of those mother-daughter relationships that’s all about the bonding and whatnot. You know the types – the ones who call their mum everyday and who tell them everything. The mothers who send baked goods in the mail and who remember things like dates and your favourite food and all that jazz. I desparately wanted to go back to a time before I realized that my parents were people, and I wanted to think of Mum as a mum.
But somewhere around 25, things changed. My parents split up for good which relieved a lot of the tension between my mother and I. My mum started dating and met a nice man named Frenchie. DM and I split up and I met A.. Suddenly, Mum and I were able to talk about the same things – we both had these great relationships and we were both in school and we were both excited about life. We could compare notes on writing papers and we could swap crazy student stories. We moved in with our respective partners at the same time and laughed over the job of combining two adult lives into one. We got engaged within a few months of each other and began trading wedding preparation stories. We started wearing the same clothes, watching the same films, and enjoying the same things (dancing, tea, and Colin Firth).
In short, we both grew up. Sure it’s odd that it happened at the same time. But I think long term, we’re happier for it. I didn’t get a mum in the traditional sense of the word but I think I got something much better: a very, very good friend.