Over spring break this year, I spent a lot of time in the car with my mom. My siblings are still in school, so I was my mother’s chauffeur each morning. One day she started talking to me about how she feels like she hasn’t given my biological brother and I enough attention since we adopted my two younger siblings. She’s talked about this before; I think she worries about it too much. Anyway, she went on to to discuss her not giving me enough attention, and she asked me about how I felt about how much attention she gave me in fifth grade, when I was about ten years old.
Why fifth grade? First off, it was my first year not being home schooled, and it was also my first big social experience outside of our home school group meetings. I was awkward, and I was learning. But I was made fun of all the time, by the whole class, and by the middle of the year the only kid who was always nice to me left. It sucked. Bad. I remember one day in particular that I was desperate not to go to school, because I didn’t want to be made fun of anymore. I gained a good bit of weight over the course of that year.
So, my mom asked me if I felt like she wasn’t there for me enough that year, and I thought about it…and said yes. Because I remember feeling so alone. This is where the waterworks started. Then she asked me about this past summer, if I felt the same when I spent four long weeks at an art school summer session, and I did. She asked if she should have called me more, and I said yes. We were both in tears, hugging each-others’ necks…I still feel raw from it, but it’s a good thing. I forgave my mother, and something opened up for both of us. It uncovered a distance between us I hadn’t known was there, so now we can cover it. I feel different. I feel like I can manage my emotions better, and I feel more emotionally open.
That conversation peeled off a layer of something – maybe like a scab, or dead skin – for both of us. It revealed things in our relationship that I stuffed down way back in fifth grade, and which I’ve been unaware of since then. But I feel stronger. At least, I feel like I’m getting stronger. This conversation helped to heal something between us, and it brought about growth that I’ve been waiting for for a long time.
I believe that talking things out can be hard and frightening, but it’s more than worth it. Stuffing things down causes damage the longer it lasts. And as my mother has said, I am so glad we had this talk now, instead of ten years from now (or even more than that).
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