NYC 2010, Mom

Posted By on June 27, 2010

The strength and ferocity my mother possesses has scared me many times as a child and even as a grownup. Part of my adaptation skills was to learn to stand up for myself and give her a bit of her own medicine, though it often ended in volatile explosions which neither of us enjoyed. How do I spend 9 days with her and still keep the peace?

Shopping in Chinatown

Granted, over the years as I’ve become a mother myself, the intensity has simmered and we are changing constantly, after all. We have a mutual agreement that if we get angry in a phone conversation, it’s okay to say good bye quickly, so distance and silence can replace the yelling, judgment, anger, etc. It has worked for years but can I pull it off in person?

Apparently so.

There was one incident, when we were very close to blows again. Then I stepped back and saw her, as if for the first time.

All these years, I had protected myself and my brother from her wrath. But now, I see her behavior as an expression of deep pain rather than unwarranted anger.

What would I do if I was speaking to someone whom I know has survived a lifetime of trauma, abuse and mistreatment? Would I yell back at them because I felt as if they were disrespecting me? Or what if that person was a child?

Or would I say:

I’m sorry you have experienced so much sadness and pain in your life. Please forgive me, as I was not able to see it sooner and find compassion in my heart. Thank you for giving me love in the ways you know how and sharing whatever light you could with me. I love you for everything you’ve ever given me, for everything you are and for inspiring me with your strength and courage to survive.

Mom and me

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.

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