Enjoy the final story submitted to the contest, written by Jessica Haney. The winners will be announced shortly!
The fear of turning into my mother has always guided my choices. In my childhood, my mother, it seemed, slept often and had no passions. She didn’t go out with friends or have anyone over.
By the time I was in college, I understood that my mom had been dealing with depression the best way she could, but I’d also already started working hard to avoid her fate. Ever involved in too many clubs and pursuits, I tired out my mom just telling her what I was up to. She sighed in pity; I defended my busy-ness as exactly what I wanted.
We never much understood one another, but once I entered my thirties, I came to a new place of acceptance and respect. I realized that I had not become the person I was – someone I liked – in spite of my mom, but because of her. My journey was cast as one of opposition to my mother’s model, but I wouldn’t be the same without that differentiation. We became friends.
The birth of my son, to my surprise, set us into a temporary tailspin; old roles and wounds were resurrected. Eventually, though, my mom and I found new ways to accept and love one another. I recently published an essay about my efforts as a mother to establish healthy patterns in my family. My mother felt both hurt and also grateful to learn more about my perspective on my childhood. We’re hopeful for whatever future we have left together.