I talk to my mom almost every day. It’s a struggle to remember to call my husband first if our kids do something hilarious. I tell her everything from when I have an embarrassing encounter to bitching about my husband. She listens and gives sound advice and she makes me laugh like very few other people can.
But she’s not my friend.
Don’t get me wrong, our relationship is great. We fight and struggle, but we have a wonderful bond. We understand each other because we’ve spent years learning each other. I have known her my entire life. I know her quirks and she knows mine. She is loyal to me and I, to her. I would rather spend my time with her than almost anyone else in the world. But again: She isn’t my friend.
Because she’s more, dammit.
It’s almost offensive to think of her as merely a “friend” because that’s just bullshit. My friends love me. I love them. But there are limits. Have you ever had a best friendship blow up on you? What about drifting apart? Yeah, if you have than you know friendships are not the same as a mother/daughter relationship. Because no matter what happens, you’re still her daughter, she’s still your mother.
My mother will forgive me anything. I mean, sure, I say I lover her unconditionally, too. But until I had kids of my own, I didn’t know what absolute horseshit that was. Because my kids are the only thing I’ll ever love unconditionally. There is no limit to the horrible crap my kids could (and have) said to me and I will always love them, forgive them, want them in my life. If my bestie, who I adore, told me she hated me once a week, I think I’d probably stop calling her my bestie. I don’t tell my mom I hate her (anymore) but I’m an ungrateful shitty kid sometimes. I ask more of her than I should, I bitch and complain to her about things no one can control and I frequently put my wants before hers. Because it’s always been that way. And even though I now see it, it’s still a hard habit to break. For both of us.
But after having kids, who change everything about you and the way you think, I can finally admit it.
When she says she loves me more, she’s right
Because she is always there for me, despite whatever’s happening in her life. She talks to me about her life and she asks for advice sometimes, but the bulk of our conversations are me talking about what’s happening in my life. And I stay at home with my kids.I don’t have loads of people to talk to on a day to day basis. She’s basically the only reason I still have an adult vocabulary. Otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d just be out in the world calling hammers “tap-taps.”
And she will never stop trying to fix my problems for me. When I’m going through a tough time, she will do anything she can to help. And sometimes her heart makes checks her body can’t cash. “Sure mom, I know you totally can watch three kids under 5 for a week. That’d be no problem for a 60+ woman with rheumatoid arthritis and lung disease. Sure.” After having kids, I can genuinely believe her when she says my pain hurts her, too.
And while those problems are the ones she’ll try to push her way through, the real problems that woman fixes are all my crazy mental shit. When I am freaking out about anything, I know I can call her and she’ll talk me through it. Even if she’s just a sounding board for me to bounce off the most asinine, messed up ideas ever; she’ll listen. And she’ll walk me through consequences of each option and help me come to a conclusion and even let me think it was all my idea. A good mom is basically an unpaid shrink. Who loves you and cares about the scenario you’re going through. And somehow feels actual pride when you beat your demons. They’re way better than mere friends.
It’s not an easy relationship.
Sometimes it would be so much easier if we were friends. I want so badly to be my daughter’s friend. She’s 6. I know she still needs so much parenting from me. I can’t be her bestie. She can’t be mine. I can’t tell her all my secrets and she can’t tell me hers. But when I take her to the movies on a one-on-one date… I so want to be that with her. I comfort myself thinking that the day will come where I can share secrets and she can share hers. But we won’t ever be besties. One day, if I’m very lucky, I can have the relationship with her that my mother has with me. I hope I’m have as strong as she is.
I know I’ll have my chance to be strong. The older we get the more I’m faced with this stupid, horrible reality. I’m not even being dramatic, I’m being brutally… painfully… cruelly honest.
When she dies, part of me will die, too.
I will no longer be the daughter who can call her mom and chat. Or vent. Who can drive home with her babies and just crash on the couch while mom feeds her kids. Or does her laundry. I will not have a place I can just move into if everything just explodes. When my mom dies, so does my safety net. And I have no idea who I’ll be without that. I’ve never not had it.