There will be another day and another chance to get it right.
When I was a little girl, I hated my father as much as I could. He was the most unloving, torturing, awful person in the whole wide world, and so was my self-talk 30 years ago.
At the same time, I adored my mother. She was the center of my universe. She was warm, caring, loving but strict; a strong woman who profoundly formed my idea of a perfect woman I wanted to be.
As time passed and my rebellious teen years came down on us – my relationship with both parents changed dramatically.
Now, in my very late thirties, I have to admit that my father became my very good friend and my relationship to my mum turned somewhat sour.
A few years ago I’ve asked my dad how being a parent felt for him when I was very young. He confessed that he felt lost; he didn’t know what to do with a young child. Between the lines I could hear that he was bored and frustrated. There was nothing he could have shared with a “baby-me” that was of interested to him.
My mum, on the other hand, enjoyed her role as a perfect mother. I was her world and she was mine.
As children grow, their needs of emotional and physical intensity of their relationship to parents evolve. None of my parents have changed their parenting style or attitude over the time. But I, as a child and as an adult, have changed. My needs are now met by my somewhat distant and overly-intellectual father much better than by my overbearing mother.
There is a lesson for me to learn here: even if you didn’t start on the right foot you still will get a chance to get it right and to enjoy a deep, loving relationship with your children.
Nowadays, somewhat wiser and more in control of my emotions, I work to re-build my loving relationship with my mum. I know there is a chance. There is always a chance to build it up again. The beauty of close relationships is that we can start over and over again. The beauty is in the endless possibilities to get it right if we so wish.
Attachment is not something that happens to newborns and toddlers – attachment is something that we all take care of throughout our lives. We are attached to our children; our children are attached to each other and to their parents, grandparents and nannies, preschool teachers and best friends.
If one of these many relationships stops working there will be a multitude of others to pick up and heal the broken pieces. Long after we are gone our children will have siblings, friends and spouses to feel connected to.
And so, every time I plague myself with my next “guilty mama” thought I remind myself that there will be another day and another chance to get it right. I remind myself that my children need many relationships that work and that as long as they have someone they love and trust they will be fine, just fine!