Time to Forgive my Mother

On the eve of Epiphany 2015, I had my own epiphany.

A major one.

My mother is never going to be who I want and need her to be. She can only be who she is.

It’s time to forgive her.

She may not know how to engage, or perhaps her heart is too closed off. She can only be who she is.

It’s time to forgive her.

It’s time to stop letting her actions control my emotions and thoughts. And also important – I can’t be what she wants me to be. She wants to be my top priority. But my kids and my husband will always come first. She’ll never accept it, but that’s not going to change.

It’s time to forgive her.

I can no longer allow her to make me feel guilty, to make me angry or feel upset. She no longer has control. I now take that from her. I have to do what I think is right, and stop giving this energy – stop feeding it. Stop giving her control.

It’s time to forgive her.

All I can do is pray for her. Maybe someday she can take the weight off her heart. To forgive, to embrace her family – to love. It may not happen. I don’t know what she went through, but maybe her wounds are too deep. But these wounds have nothing to do with us, so we can’t change that. She won’t open up to share it, to let it go. For her sake, I hope she can, someday.

And I pray that I continue to learn from this experience. Mom’s spent her life bitter, angry, closed off, and selfish. I don’t know her story—she’s never shared it—so I will not judge. I will forgive. And strive to be the opposite: open, loving, grateful, and with an open heart and mind.

It’s time to forgive her.

God help her to open her heart. She is approaching the coda. It would be wonderful for her to be able to lift the weight from her heart and release it before she’s gone. If she can’t—or won’t – it’s not for me to decide.

It’s time to forgive her.

Time to accept her for who she is. I can’t change her. I can only change how I approach this, how I react.

It’s time to forgive her.

I recited this mantra over and over. And some amazing things began to happen.

I no longer dreaded her several-times-daily-repeating-the-same-things-phone-calls. No longer did I feel guilty – I didn’t let her make me feel that way. Visits to the nursing home were no longer filled with dread – but actually were enjoyable. I even found her to be changed. Maybe all those prayers were starting to take effect. Maybe I was seeing her differently. Who knows? But one day, not long after, Mom called. It was like I was speaking to someone else.

She sounded lighter, cheery. We chatted briefly. There was no guilt trip. When the call was coming to a close, she said, “Miss you guys! Love you!” Who was that lady on the other end of the phone? There were those words I never got to hear from her when I was growing up. There they were. Words I needed to hear, words she needed to say. With that, I said, “Love you too. Talk to you tomorrow.” She replied, “OK Honey. Bye.” Honey? My mother actually used that word?

Maybe Mom is mellowing, maybe it took me to forgive her and stop judging her to finally appreciate her for who she is. Maybe putting this new attitude out there resonated through the universe. I don’t know. But forgiving her has made me feel lighter, and there’s no longer pressure on either of us.

How liberating it is.

QUESTION: Have you wanted your parent to be something they aren’t? We know we can’t be anything other than ourselves. Maybe it’s time to forgive, let people be who they are. Life can be so much sweeter that way. Please share your story below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Twitter: @MariaKaramitsos (all things Greek) Twitter: @FrtheMommyFiles (parenting, writing, etc.) Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariaakaramitsos Blog: http://fromthemommyfiles.wordpress.com
Twitter: @MariaKaramitsos (all things Greek)
Twitter: @FrtheMommyFiles (parenting, writing, etc.)
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariaakaramitsos
Blog: http://fromthemommyfiles.wordpress.com

Maria A. Karamitsos is a writer, blogger, mom and proud Hellene. For the last decade, she served as Associate Editor and Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has also been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter.com, and HarlotsSauce Radio. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook (Greek Americans); and Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal (volume 1, issue 1).

At From the Mommy Files…, she explores the highs and lows of life, as the parent of two daughters, an angel baby, AND her elderly parents, all while pursuing a career as a writer. Maria is the co-director of Chicago’s Greek Media Club.

Twitter: @MariaKaramitsos (all things Greek) and @FrtheMommyFiles (parenting, writing,etc.).

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