hear me

She’d left the apartment open so I could wait inside for her to finish work.

It’s weird being in your adult child’s home. Strange to open her refrigerator and notice that her fridge was not organized like mine.

I was sitting on the sofa that used to live at my house when she arrived.

“I can’t hear you,” she suddenly announced after ten minutes of normal conversation about things that didn’t matter much.

I knew where this was going.

“No matter what you wrote about Mom – me, the girls, the farm or work – I could hear your voice in your posts. I could hear you speaking. I have not been able to hear you since Christmas.”

Silence

“You have a wall up because you are protecting me. I’m OK. Write about it.  I need to hear you….”

In October she’d called and said, “Mom, I am not sure I’m still in love with him.”

Before that call, the last time she’d visited, we’d spent the entire weekend planning a wedding.

I listened as my daughter, with her newly acquired big city attitude complete with disdain for all things familiar, informed me that she was changing.

I am the Queen of Change. I am not afraid of change.  But this wasn’t a change I’d anticipated or wanted in my daughter. This was a complete annihilation of any semblance of the loving, gentle, articulate girl who I had raised. This was different; her ‘change’ could mean the end of something vital between us.

As the weeks took us closer to Christmas, our telephone conversations became terse snapping sparring matches inevitably ending badly, leaving silence to well up in two rooms separated by a thousand miles.

The holidays were reduced to a series of unfinished conversations, raw glances and resentful obligation. Then she left to make the most difficult journey of her life alone.

I had no choice but to wait, quietly. The frequency of her calls increased. Her moods were hard to anticipate: one day stable and focused, the next confused and lost. I wanted to guide her, to tell her what I thought, to steer her in the direction I thought best, as I had countless times before.  I didn’t.  It wasn’t my place.  Not anymore.

As spring approached, her struggle began to feel purposeful. Her language shifted from self-centered to self exploration. All of the anger dissipated into a graceful clarity. Her thoughtful insight began to act as her guide.

And so she emerged from her long season of struggle, still the daughter I loved so very much but less the little girl I’d always known and more a woman I would have to learn  to know.

Thanks for reading.

  • Joe

    She will be more than fine. She was a wonderful and loving Mom and role model

  • Donna Macdougall

    Very moving – as a mother of young adult children, this really struck a chord with me. I have really enjoyed reading your blog – your candour is so refreshing.

    • It was difficult to write… it is an interesting time in motherhood

  • Tanya

    I know I have told you this before, but what a wonderful mother you are, and such a role model to me as a mom with four lovely ladies quickly growing up! Thank you for your honesty in your blog and your little girl I am sure feels your love and support in all her decisions…XO

    • And how lucky you are with your four beautiful little girls!
      xo

  • Nathalie Godbout

    I may have cried just a little reading that this morning. Raising girls is both magical and heartbreaking. All at the same time. Hugs to you and all of yours 🙂

    • It has been a long season…loved your tweets this am xo

  • Kirsty

    This reminds me so much of my relationship with my own mum. Thank you for sharing. It’s really brought a different perspective to me as the daughter.

  • granintraining

    This is a great post Michelle. I remember being in Kaitlin’s shoes and I KNOW my mon remembers being in yours when it came to both Kate and I. It is all such a field of landlines when you have been living with someone and realizing you don’t know what the hell you want anymore and unfortunately our mommas bear the brunt of our young woman rollarcoaster ride of emotions. I can’t believe how much I leaned on my mom during the couple of big break ups I had and in retrospect I really think our bond is SO much stronger because of all the tears and fights an craziness. Now that I have my son, I appreciate everything my mom DID and does for me to a whole new level. I can only imagine what it will be like to one day meet my adult son and navigate that landscape. Thank you for writing such a beautiful and candid post and to your daughter for letting you!!!

    • It is amazing how everything changes once you hold your own child in your arms. Your son is beautiful! Enjoy your journey… xo

  • Norm McFarlane

    same old Michelle I learned to know 4 or 5 years ago always thinking about someone else and how you can help of fix a situation. Great read Norm

  • Alesia

    Michelle, you are a great mom and you did a wonderful job raising three girls.They are very lucky to have you. All four of you are beautiful inside and out.