I don’t know exactly how to start this letter.
I’ll Just Jump Right In
I have things I want to say regarding recent conversations, and they aren’t coming easily to me. It doesn’t help that our most recent phone call was amicable, light, and relatively unimportant. I liked that. It felt easy.
But the one before that? It was heavy. Uncomfortable. Accusatory, almost. In that call, you questioned some things you’ve seen me posting on Facebook. You wondered about the strength of my faith, what I’m teaching my children, and the source of my contrary ideas.
You’re concerned. You expressed that. And I am trying so hard to take that into account as I battle feelings of frustration around the idea that I am still so small and invisible to you.
I am 27 years old this year. And these kinds of talks have been going on since I was 12. Fifteen years of what feels like you speaking over my own thoughts, ideas, desires, and insights.
I Need to Think for Myself
As an adult, yes. I have changed.
My ideas are different, my politics changed, my ideology re-centered on values that matter deeply and concretely to me. Values that always have. I am only now learning to own them and speak them and believe them to be valuable. I am only now learning to trust my own heart, to question what needs to be questioned, and listen for the voice inside that says I am capable and enjoyable and enough.
Oh, how I wish that that were your voice.
Forgive me, but please know that I am trying my best. I’m finishing college and caring for my family and working to create a stable, happy life for them. With the support of a loving husband, I am finding more and more about me that I love. I am raising your grandsons to be thoughtful and caring and mindful young men.
In my most recent two years, I finally have discovered a bit of strength in me that I never knew was there. I could never seem to hear it over you.
Thank You, Mom
I’m not saying these things to complain. I don’t say them to shame you or belittle you or make you feel like a terrible mother.
So much of who I am is because of you, and I am eternally grateful for every ounce of love that you have poured into me over the years. I couldn’t see it in adolescence, but your love was always present. In every lecture about boys over cherry Coke and tater tots. In every gifted book, complete with your words of prayer and encouragement written inside its front cover. And in every framed picture of me or my siblings crowding the walls of your home.
Your love has always been there.
And now, as I continue to grow as a mom myself, I can see why you being so frustrated with me is really just your love showing its unfinished edges. Maybe I haven’t made it easy.
But I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, about you and me. I want a healthy relationship between us. I hope it isn’t news to you that I feel what we have now misses that mark.
I’m an adult now, one with goals and dreams, responsibilities and struggles, changing perspectives and meaningful relationships. So badly, I want for you to know these things about me.
I want you to know me.
I want to get to know you.
Could we be… friends?
What does that look like for us? I’m not even sure if the word friendship fits the idea I have in my head. I’ve only seen snippets of what it looks like for other mom/daughter duos, and I will admit that I have shed many tears of jealousy over these seemingly impossible relationships.
Can We Start Over?
More than anything, I don’t want to hide from you any more. I want to finally be seen and known and loved, anyway.
Maybe that means that we will always disagree, and that you will always worry about my ideals. But it most certainly means that I can not keep hiding myself behind shared social media posts flaunting other peoples’ better-expressed words on issues that matter intensely to me. I simply cannot pretend to be the same little girl who doesn’t know how to have ideas of her own.
With love and hope for something more between us,
Your Adult Daughter