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dance of love

by Judy
August 4, 2014

We are so effected by each other; how and who we are is passed on from generation to generation; from families, friends and strangers; from all the actions inherited from the past and all that is expressed through the written word, and through the other mediums of expression. We often don’t realize how influenced we are. How could we? I am thinking particularly of that which is good; which inspires, which uplifts, which sets new narratives for what is possible. Some influences are obvious but others are quieter, more subtle and even hidden.

I was thinking of this in response to an exchange I had recently with a friend, Patty. She wrote me initially about a dream she had about me that she felt was connected to my relationship with my mother. When I asked her more about it, she responded:

“…I was thinking that having your Mom stay with us gives people like me more time to reflect on how precious my own mother is to me, and how deeply she affects me in so many ways every day, even though I am seldom with her in person… And it's strange but I feel that you having this time with your mother is almost like me doing that, or as if you are both doing a dance of love between mothers and their adult children. You are not in any way romanticizing this process, and perhaps that is another reason why I can relate so deeply. In you not pretending that this is anything other than what it is, I can feel free to experience my love for my mother even more clearly and completely…So much has been written on our negative psychological bondage with parents and children, yet my experience is one of adoration for both of my parents.”  

Now this friend has never even met my mother and yet she writes so beautifully about the effect it has had on her. I appreciate her understanding that I am not romanticizing this process and at the same time it is a story of love between mother and daughter. Yes, in our modern day, often the view of mother and daughter is negative or at least not positive and yet another narrative is being written and will continue to be expressed.

In reflecting more about this, it isn’t even such a new narrative. For example if I think about my mother in relationship to her mother, there was a lot of love, respect and care between them and this in part came from what could be called a “good” traditional (in my case Jewish) upbringing where one respects and honors one’s mother and father. However those of us growing up in the sixties in the West often didn’t agree with our parents’ values and lifestyles, were rebellious in our pursuit for new ways of thinking and being. That was the case for myself, and yet I did always stay connected and see now that I was very influenced by my mom without realizing it. When it was clear my mother needed help, I didn’t have to think twice about what I would do. The care was there. In that way I am no different than centuries of children looking after their aging parents.

But perhaps what is new, that Andrea and I are living and expressing, is the attention that we are giving to this late phase in life when children step in. I can’t say I know very much about what has been written in the past, but I do think it’s new to be thinking and talking so much about this area of life and thus making it that much more conscious. Did my mom talk about the care for her mom and what it meant? Did she talk or think about her relationship with her mother and how it might be changing? No, I don’t think so. Andrea and I are shining a light on this area (as well as others) and finding, to our delight, something so beautiful that is possible between mothers and daughters. 

I really did not know what to expect from this time with my mother – It’s been a journey of discovery in many ways. It’s a journey of love and intimacy that I never would have imagined. There are, no doubt, challenges and difficulties, but through it all, there is such a sweetness. That is new.  And to be able to share all this with others and see the effect it has adds a dimension not only to the caregiving and to new possibilities, but in delving deeper inside myself and putting words to my experience, I am connecting with a deeper part of life itself and what makes it so meaningful. On top of this comes a quiet joy in knowing one is having an effect.

So without planning on it and without following any previous path, it is a real love story between mother and daughter or as my friend Patty said, "a dance of love.”

Feel free to share your thoughts


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