…on Making Peace

My Dear Daughter-in-Law,

None of this is to make you feel any guilt whatsoever.  Your way of coping with your family situation has been a matter of self preservation and you have done and must do what works for you.  If you need remove yourself in order to be healthy and happy, do it!  However, you asked me for advice and in return I am giving you some of my thoughts.

Try to wake up every morning and assume that you are loved.  This can be life-changing.  Instead of viewing everything through the filter of being unloved, misunderstood, and emotionally unsupported; just go to the center of yourself and remind yourself that you are loved deeply by many people in this world.  I can speak confidently for my husband, myself, your husband and your kids.  The rest I can imagine.

I’ve been thinking about your mother.  I remember what joy she would get in visiting the kids.  She loved buying them little things.  She always acted really proud of you, too, although maybe a bit mystified at your life and your “liberated” ways.  That seemed to come out in her empathy with your husband.  Didn’t she always just cater to him?  It seemed to be her comfort zone for her culture and upbringing.   She seems always to have seen her way of moving through the world to be in tandem with a man.  Not good or bad…just the way it is.  I know it has definitely NOT worked well for you in your life.

I know that she loves you.  It may not be a satisfying portrayal of love for your needs…and that’s fair.  But she loves you.

It must be hard for her to be estranged from you and your children.  She is busy and involved with your sister and her kids, but involvement with one child or grandchild does not make up for lack of involvement with another.  We cherish our grandchildren.  It might also be hard  in her culture and family to admit  that she is not “in the loop” with your life.  It would be a constant  heartache for me if I had a bad relationship (or no relationship) with any of my children and grandchildren.  Also,  (although I consider myself to be analytical and introspective)  many times I don’t quite get what I did wrong.  My way of being and acting is so ingrained that I fail to look outside myself to see another path.  My actions may seem self-centered or hurtful but i never INTEND to hurt my children.  That may be true with your mother.

In imagining your mother’s love perhaps you can look at yourself as a mother.  No matter how much you disagree, are hurt by, disapprove of, and argue with your daughter…do you love her?  Do you carry her in your heart?  Does it make you miserable when she acts as if she doesn’t understand you, care about you and want to have anything to do with you?  Of course!  And she is a teenager!  Almost all of that is expected.  You can be sure, however, that these feelings that you have for your daughter will continue throughout your life. And although she may think that you favor her brother, you know in your heart that your love for him doesn’t in any way change your love for her.  Also, a good day with your son doesn’t make a hard day with your daughter any better.

Being human, and being a mother, your Mom may have the same feelings.

Make peace with your mother, my love, for your mother’s sake…but especially for your sake.  Carry loving feelings through your day instead of hurt and angry feelings.  Be the person you want to be.  Act instead of reacting.  You are a wonderful, intelligent, loving and caring person.  Be that person with your family for YOUR sake so that you don’t live with regrets about time lost, love not shared, but especially regrets about how you have dealt with any situation.  We all have regrets, but it works best to err on the side of being loving, tolerant and accepting.  We are seldom sorry for that.

Making peace does not mean that you must pursue the relationship or even spend time with her if it doesn’t work for you.  Making peace is in your own mind and heart.  It means letting go of anger and the hope of her being a different person.

If we try to give the same unconditional love that we long for…we are more likely to get it back.

I hope you will forgive me if I have overstepped.  I love you dearly.  I am not critical of anything you have done and will be with you no matter what your decisions.  That is unconditional!


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