The weeks leading up to our engagement, my mother gave me an ultimatum to choose between Mr. Wonderful or herself. And while I had spent most of my life trying to be “a good girl” in order to earn her love, I didn’t want to give up the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t love her less. I just chose to stand up to her, for the first time in my life.
After that, my mother simply stopped speaking to me. I tried to reach out to her, but every time I did, it seemed to cause more damage than good. Friends prayed for us in earnest. People assured me there was no way a mother would miss her daughter’s wedding. I wanted to believe in a miracle.
I remember when my dad arrived to the ceremony, alone. I wasn’t completely surprised at my mother’s choice, but my heart sank, anyway. And while I have no regrets, I haven’t been able to make it through the Hallmark aisle around Mother’s Day without my stomach tied in knots. Mr. Wonderful and I never have fights about whose house to go to for Thanksgiving and Christmas, because my mother has made it clear that we’re not invited.
It took years of therapy (and a lot from the bank account) before I was able to deal with all the emotions and heal. I got to the point where I felt emotionally healthy again. I could talk about my family without falling apart in tears. I stopped having nightmares. I still wanted to reconnect with my mother, but I recognized that a relationship takes two people willing to make it work.
When my sister announced her engagement, I was excited that she had found someone who truly loves and cherishes her. But I also knew my mother would likely be at the wedding (she and my sister have a healthier relationship). Suddenly, the old fears that I hadn’t felt in years came flooding back. It had been so long since my mother and I had even looked at each other in the face – anything could happen. And as much as I want to honor and support my only sibling, I’m also dreading the ceremonial procession as her matron of honor. Will my mother even acknowledge me as I walk by her chair?
Eight years later I still question if I should have tried harder. When is it time to let go? As I witness new cycles of life and see my friends gaze adoringly into their infant’s eyes, I can’t help but wonder, What was wrong with me?
Have any of you been through a similar situation?