The one time I made my mother
cry, meaning something I told her about myself caused her to shed tears
, was a time where I was not there to witness it; I had been told by my father what happened.
After I moved to New Orleans, my mother used to send me care packages with candy, socks, soap, and teddy bears. Now I often liked or needed what she sent me, but I have never, since I was 6, liked teddy bears. To me, she was not only seeing me as a perpetual 12 year old, but she wasn't paying attention to the fact that my interests and hobbies have changed since then.
All through college, my personal life was a mystery to my parents. Being 8 hours away and seldom able to visit, I chose to keep home visits calm by not going into details the areas of my personal choices that would have made them, in the very least, uneasy. So then, when I moved even 16 more hours South, it was no longer a desire of mine to keep them filled in on anything more than what they asked for in the form of updates: how is work, how's your apt, have you met anyone new.
In a combination of wanting to respond to my mother's inability to treat me like an adult and wanting to share my life with her that for so long had been undiscovered, I wrote her a letter about a year ago. I told her everything: being a daily pothead in college, being addicted to cocaine in New Orleans once I moved here, my promiscuity, my drinking, everything. I added that I was free of these things now, as far as they were detrimental to my life, and that I was writing to her as one who had been delivered from a couple variations of hell.
My mother, having been so long willfully and even longer with my help in the dark about my struggles, cried heavily. Her response letter, despite my warnings beforehand included in my letter, contained expressions of guilt, as though my bout with drugs, drinking, and sex had been her fault. She also lamented how sad she was for me, even though I did not write her out of sadness but out a desire to be open and honest about my life.
I do not feel like a horrible daughter for doing what I did, because I feel in doing it I opened a door of communication with her that, for others in my situation, may have taken years more to pry apart. I needed her to see how I really was, what I have been through and where I want to go from here, so that she could grow as much as she could in my direction. I grew quickly tired of what contact we had being so focused on how I was as a child, so much that it made me feel that she did so only because there was nothing in my life now worth noting, since I am not yet married with children and haven't picked a career suitable to my education and ability.
Her tears expressed alot, and I can only guess here what they may have been. She may have felt duped because what she believed about me was obviously not true, or she may have felt like a failure because I had to not only go through all this but that I did it without any help from her. She may have also been angry or disappointed with me but had no better way to show it, and she knows better than me that tears are often the simplest, most socially acceptable way to express a gamut of emotions.
I am glad I've done what I have. Our talks are much improved and have gotten to be more refreshing and informative, further proving my theory that most healing doesn't happen unless a wound opens up.