Change is something we read about in magazines and ponder often in our alone time. It’s elusive and unpredictable at times, other times it’s completely out of our control because someone else needs to change. Relationships end in a stalemate or evolve because of change (or a lack thereof). Even in nature, change is an obvious necessity. Society has many cliches and phrases to encourage, excuse, pardon, or shame change. One that comes to mind for me today is “it’s never too late to change.”
My mother and I have had a hard few years. We haven’t seen eye to eye on many things in the world and that has caused a fair amount of discord between us. Neither of us want to see things the way we do and see them like that on our own, we want agreement and solidarity in our unique perspectives about the world. But we just couldn’t see it like that together. We had a wall. A wall built out of years of disappointments and misjudgments, bricks made of injustices served too long ago, and resentment cemented the wall strongly into place. Until something changed. I don’t know what exactly, or even when, but slowly and steadily the wall between us began to change. The arguments became less frequent. The impatience with each other changed to intent to understand. The misunderstandings became fewer and farther between. And then Christmas 2014 came. I think our Berlin Wall fell that day. We were no longer a divided force, but united for the first time in my recollection. My mom wanted my son and I to fly home for Christmas. She would pay and it was our gift from her to us. I am 35 years old and have lived out of state my entire adult life. My mother had never paid for me to come home nor tried to help pay for me to come home. It seemed in some ways, that she would rather I didn’t come home and until recently, I was just fine with that. Until the wall fell. It was the solitary most sincere act of generosity I have ever felt from my mother. When we were visiting we spent a lot of time talking. We didn’t do too much of the “doing” but a lot of the “being”. It was a much needed respite from the usual stresses of travel. In my visit home, I played a board game with my mother. From start to finish. We played Scrabble. Can you imagine the flood of emotions I felt when I realized that was the first time I had ever played a game with my mother ever in my entire life?! Ever. First game. Did I mention I am 35 years old? It was evident to me in that moment that the tides of change were certainly upon us.
Our arguments and struggle were not for naught but for the purpose of sorting our differences. Sure, some fights and arguments can bring an end to some relationships and things will cold over for a long time, but ours were for purpose. I look forward to the years we have in our future as mother and daughter. I hope the rubble of our fallen wall is carted away with each new memory. In its place, I pray for an orchard of love and gladness that will nourish our relationships for years to come. I am grateful for the change in our relationship and I am hopeful for our future.
Maybe the cement in that old wall wasn’t so strong after all, or maybe love was stronger.
The Repressed Peach