what i learned from visiting my mother:
1. she isn’t my mother anymore; she is my niece’s grandmother.
2. she is a better grandmother than she was mother.
3. i am less affected by (but continue to react slightly defensively about) the things she wants me to do that i’ve failed to do or have no desire to do (like finish grad school or get a “real” job or write publishable fiction that won’t shock her).
4. i don’t miss her at all.
5. she doesn’t miss me either but wants me to visit regularly.
6. she bought wine that i like, opened the bottle moments after i walked in her door, and poured us each a generous glass. i judged her as smarter and wiser for initiating these actions.
7. i’ve made progress forgiving her, but there is more progress to be made.
8. i courageously and authentically communicated with her, but i only allowed my vulnerabilities to peek around corners without inviting them into the conversation.
my 9-month-old niece has giant ears, is a daddy’s girl, and doesn’t like me. she is her mother’s miniature. i watched my brother repress jaw-clenching annoyance, frustration, and anger at his wife’s judgments of him passively conveyed as “teasing.” from the outside, their version of living the american dream could be used as textbook illustration, and inside the foundation has begun fissuring.
i gently held myself together for 38 hours in california without acting-out my habitual eating disordered crisis behavior. mostly, i kept my heart open. for the few hours i slept, i woke from nightmares. i came home to peppery green beans and birthday presents on my doorstep. i took a long nap. i’m home safe, exhausted, and grateful. thanks for your support, comments, thoughts, and text messages. how can i best support you today?