It's not rare that you would hear the words, "My mother's crazy" come out of my mouth. That's just frustration. A way to flippantly express the angst that most daughters feel for their mothers at one point or another. I don't really mean she's crazy. At least, not in the sense that she should be locked up or anything. Or that she's a danger to society. She's just sometimes a danger to me. (and as an extension sometimes a danger to my friends because I am in one FINE mood after she and I have a disagreement.)
It's just that she always has an opinion about everything. And once she had that opinion firmly in her mind (based on whatever facts seem to be very clear to her at the time) it is impossible to change. (Pot, meet Kettle. I know. I know.) The thing is, her opinions tend to be based on only a few insignificant facts.
But then, that's because a few insignificant facts about my life are all I will usually give to her. I mean, after one or two
So in the spirit of trying to grow, I opened up and talked to my mother when I was home for Thanksgiving about the whole story behind the boy (tears and all.) She's been cool (as in "distant," not "down wit dat") on the subject of the boy ever since I moved out. I know she doesn't quite get what's going on, and I KNOW she tends to see me as a weak victim (but I can't figure out wtf that's all about. Seriously? Does anyone else ever see me as a victim??) so I thought we would talk.
And talk we did. I poured it all out. (Warning: intimate details about Emily's relationship ahead.)
How he was a jerk when we lived together and I really needed him to step up. How he's since apologized and quit the job he hated. How he's making much less money, but he's so much happier. How we're talking through things much more thoroughly now. How I still don't know what the future holds, but I'm in no rush to the altar, and for now I'm happy that we're happy when we're together more often than we're miserable when we're together. (For a while it was a toss up.) I told her that what I love most about him is (at the risk of sounding cliche) that he gets me. He doesn't see my outgoing nature as flirting and doesn't get jealous, he knows that I'm hyper competitive and he's resigned to it, he knows that I spend twice as much time talking to my best male friend as I do all of my other friends combined and he's okay with that, and he knows that I'm insane but he's willing to work with it. He sees all of me, and he loves me the way I am, and I never knew how comforting/relieving/awesome that could be. Apparently all the things I see as flaws can't really be flaws because someone loves me completely despite all of them.
The things I question are, why are we happier now? Is it because we live apart? I mean, he helps me out more now than he ever did when we lived together. Why is that? Is it because he's out of that job he hated? Was he depressed in that job? Is it because my moving out frightened the heck out of him? Is he really growing up? Or do I just not see the issues that I saw so clearly when we saw each other all the time? Is he just putting forth effort now when he's afraid he's going to lose me, and if we move in together, will everything go back to how it was?? I think about these things. I really do. It's not like I'm thinking we're going to live happily ever after. I know we've got a mountain of problems to work through, and I know that if we can't live together, that throws a huge roadblock on any future I may be considering.
When I got done explaining all of this, I was breathless and teary. My nose was all red and snotty. It wasn't pretty. And basically my mother had this to say, "Emily, I just think he's too comfortable in the relationship. He knows that you're never going to leave him, so he can do whatever he wants and you'll always come running back to him when he snaps his fingers."
In the spirit of growing, I didn't yell, I just let out a resigned sigh and ended the conversation.
But then I thought about what she was saying. It's almost like she was saying what I was thinking (the putting forth effort thing) from a different perspective. She just sort of tweaked it so that apparently I am the hapless victim and he's got all this power in the relationship.
Hmm. When I think of myself and the boy, I tend to think of us as equals. A relationship is all about give and take, and all about compromise. Something we're getting better and better at. Well, at least I thought we were. Until, you know, my mother planted ugly seeds of doubt in my head. But then again, SHE doesn't know the ins and outs of our relationship. After thinking on what my mother had said, (one might say I spent time to "think on these things") rejecting them outright, rethinking, and generally driving myself insane, I finally brought it up to the boy.
After some immediate anger towards my mother (understandable) I sort of calmed him down enough to get him to see why I even brought it up. She took the same facts I already knew and just came at them from a different (albeit uglier) angle. After he adamantly denied what she had said, I pointed out why she might have the idea she does. I asked him about what really HAD changed since we moved out. How was I ever going to know that we weren't doomed to repeat the same mistakes? It was a very very interesting discussion that has actually been tabled until the next time we see each other. (We ran out of time. I tend to talk. A lot. News flash.)
I don't know that anything has actually been resolved, but then, that's not the point right now. The conversation was the point. The moving forward. The possibility that maybe things will be figured out someday in the future.
And that's what mothers do. Apparently even crazy ones.