getting the thankfulness started

i'd be really REALLY thankful if we got more hammock time...

It was not so many Thanksgivings ago that I told my (biological for those who know both of the women who have mothered me) mother that I never wanted to see her again, and then basically didn’t for several years.  I was in junior high at the time. Not to get into the whole long story, but we had hurt and been hurt by each other, had misunderstood each other, and basically ceased to have a relationship after years of hurt and misunderstanding.  And it seemed that as years went by, hurt and misunderstanding piled upon hurt and misunderstanding, and even talking on the phone became difficult.  At the same time I felt guilty and somehow defective for not being able to have a functional relationship with my own mother, but the guilt just made the hurt and misunderstanding even harder to deal with.  Others who attempted to help heal this broken relationship just added to the burden of guilt and pain, making me feel even more defective.

Tonight my mother is coming to visit me for Thanksgiving.  It will be the first Thanksgiving we have spent together since that horrible Thanksgiving years ago.  I’m actually really looking forward to it.

What changed between then and now?

Jon.

This Thanksgiving, I have to say, I am so thankful for him.  It is thanks to Jon that I have a relationship with my mother today, one in which we can email and talk on the phone and visit and just know and be with each other in a way I couldn’t have imagined not so many years ago.  Rather than making me feel guilty for my broken relationship with my mother, Jon patiently and gently pointed out that while I didn’t have to reconcile, didn’t have to force forgiveness I didn’t feel, I did have to let go of anger and bitterness and hurt, because those things were weighing me down and making me a bitter and unhappy person.  And because I never felt anything but accepted and loved by him, I felt free to let go of those feelings that were holding me back and keeping me from really being myself.  And I also felt comfortable enough to see a counselor and work through my own issues.  And eventually, I felt free enough to forgive. And forgiveness led to reconciliation, and reconciliation to renewed relationship.

How many people can honestly say their partner makes them a better person, helps them have better relationships with others, and shows them what grace and freedom really look like? I can. And this Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for him.

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6 thoughts on “getting the thankfulness started

  1. I haven’t seen my mother in almost seven years, and I’m grateful to my husband because he reminds me to be strong and not feel guilty for being estranged from my abusive family. Supportive partners are awesome, esp. when one’s family of origin isn’t the most functional!

    I hope that you have a nice Thanksgiving with your mother, dearie!! *hug*

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  2. I’m glad you’ve mostly reconciled with your mom. It always made my tummy hurt a little when I knew you had to go see her. My relationship with my dad had deteriorated so much, I was a little relieved when he passed away. J tells me all the time that I’ll have to eventually see some sort of therapist to work through the leftover “daddy issues.” For now, I’m content to remember the better days, and be thankful for the ones ahead.

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    • It used to make my tummy hurt just talking on the phone. 24 hours into the visit and we’re doing good so far! And I really can’t recommend counseling enough, provided you can find someone you trust and like. Mine was the counselor on staff at Lyon and she is AMAZING.

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  3. This is a lovely post. I can’t say say my mate helped me reconcile my own daddy issues (which are a whole lot less toxic than yours, from the sounds of it) but a little therapy and a lot of time have worked wonders.

    Happy thanksgiving!

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  4. just stumbling upon your site after seeing your comment re: family over at pacing the panic room. your insight touched me. thanks for articulating so gracefully.

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