Brenda, otherwise known as my mother, called yesterday, asking if I could take her to Costco to have her hearing aids adjusted. Being the dutiful son, and more importantly, with nothing else to do, I was happy to take her.
Brenda lives in in a senior-living apartment in a nearby high-rise. The building has both independent and assisted-living residences. Brenda is independent. Literally and figuratively. My father shed his mortal coil almost a decade ago and Brenda is in relatively very good health.
Throughout the transition to this new chapter, Brenda has been extraordinarily supportive. She’s shown no animosity toward my ex-wife, and remains a welcome and beloved part of Caroline’s extended family.
I honestly don’t know how I could have gotten through this upheavel without her help. And that’s the point: how I’ve come to appreciate Brenda in a different light. When i was younger, my perspective on my parents was that they did what they did because they had to, as decreed in some vague, unwritten book of parental etiquette.
As middle-age has descended upon me, with my own daughters all in their twenties, I have come to understand there is an extremely broad spectrum of relationships between parents and their children, especially adult children.
With that realization has come a new appreciation for my relationship with Brenda. And, I’ve made certain that I tell her how much her help has meant to me. I cannot tell you how gratifying being able to just tell her “thank you” is for me.
I’m not saying she still doesn’t try my patience. I’m not saying she doesn’t drive me crazy. She does. But who doesn’t? I am a bit suspect of anyone who says their best friend doesn’t drive them insane at one time or another.
What I am saying is, with the benefit of midlife, I have the capacity to see Brenda through a more objective lens. And that clarity gives me hope for rebuilding my relationship with my daughters. I just need to keep in mind that It is a marathon, not a sprint.