For as long as I can remember, my relationship with my mum has been “rocky” to say the least, due to many influencing factors such as divorce, custody, dishonesty, opinions, lies, location, and stubbornness.
When I was 6, my mum left. I do not know if that was by her choice or my dad’s, but she moved out. For the next five years, we dodged around different visitation arrangements, locations, and opinions. I don’t remember all the ins and outs of what happened when, and in fact why, but I do remember being told completely different stories about the reasons why and characteristics of both my parents — from the other bitter parent. It was confusing and wrong. My sister and I deserved the truth, yet I’m not sure we ever got it.
By the time I was 9, my sister had stopped talking to our mum, for a reason I can’t remember. I’m sure it wasn’t fueled by her own opinions; but it happened. When I was 11, my mum moved three hours away. In the next few years I went from visiting in every school holiday to not speaking. I can’t remember when exactly the arrangement changed, or why. I know that my sister suddenly moved in with our mum and stepdad when I was 13. I know that I was jealous, I know that I wasn’t sure which parent I wanted to live with and I know that I didn’t want to upset either of them, yet I did. From 13 to 19, I didn’t contact my mum. When I was 19, we exchanged a few text messages and I visited my sister at their home once. But it wasn’t fixed. Two years later, after my sister had moved out for a while, I went to stay there alone. There had been more contact within the last year, but it still felt stiff and rigid.
At 21, 1 week after breaking up with my late boyfriend, I went for a weekend visit. I was heartbroken, lost, weak. The journey up was nervewracking, I wanted to be distracted, but I wasn’t sure if this was the right distraction. Almost 15 years later and I still didn’t know all the facts about what happened, or who this woman really — and I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to know, or what to believe.
Until, on the final day of my visit, we had a massive talk. A heart to heart. Connecting the dots between many things in our lives. Her past relationships, with mine. Her past choice in toxic men and friends, with mine. The correlation between childhood trauma and adult choices. We talked about everything. She gave me an honest, and professional opinion towards the person who I had just left and the whole relationship. She taught me to see the reality, to burst the bubble of excuses and comfort that I had created towards this man and our time together. She helped me understand.
This was our first proper conversation that didn’t include smalltalk, ever. It felt strange and new. But good. It felt like I finally had a mum to talk to about heartache and men and all that falls in between. For the initial month after the break up, we spoke on the phone almost every day. I cried for hours and she comforted me, supported me, reminded me of the things I knew deep down. Although I don’t need the constant support and comfort as I did then, we still speak weekly on the phone; about everything and anything. We talk for hours about the past, the present and the future. We bond. We love. We grow.