Seventeen years ago this past Thursday, I found myself at Women's Hospital giving birth to my good egg. She has been a blessing, sometimes a trial but, mostly, a joy in my life. I can not imagine life without her. She is the light. She is hope for the future. She is more than I ever imagined she would be.
Being her mother has brought out the best in me and the worst in me. It has been a ride that I never expected or anticipated filled with many high highs and more low lows than I would have liked. Yet, somehow, we have managed to make it through the lows, enjoy the highs and come out into a new phase in our mother/daughter relationship.
I am starting to really enjoy this new phase. We are beginning to connect with each other on a more adult level. Not to say we don't have moments of teenage (or adult!) angst but, overall, we are becoming friends with each other.
This shift in our dynamic is very welcome. Especially when juxtaposed with the relationship I now have with my mother. As her dementia slowly progresses, I find that being with her is more like what it used to be like with my daughter when she was little.
Lots of questions. Instead of the wonder and curiosity in the "Why? Why? Why?s" of toddler hood, it is the "Where are my glasses? Where are my glasses? Where are my glasses?" short term forgetfulness of dementia.
Having no concept of dangers around her. Instead of chasing after running toddler legs before they run into the street, it is holding the arm of the elderly lady so she can cross safely.
Never wanting to change clothes. I remember a time when my daughter refused to wear anything but one particular dress for days, weeks, months (well, it felt like months). Now it is my mother who keeps insisting she has no clothes (even though she bought 8, count them 8, new t-shirts on our trip to Disney)! and keeps wanting to wear the same t-shirt from 1986.
If one is to look at life from the perspective of the glass being half full (which I tend to do the majority of the time!) there is a lovely balance to how relationships with children and parents reverse themselves over time, I suppose.
When my daughter was young and needy, my mother was there to lean on. Now, my mother is old and needy, and my daughter's shoulder is right there to hold my weight. Thank goodness!