I hated my mother for years and years. I didn’t talk to her or have any contact with her for nearly 20 years. Just the THOUGHT of her would trip me into this mindless, frothing rage. So I figured it was for the best to avoid any direct contact with her. I moved from New Jersey to California to put 3,000 miles between us. And I would sometimes think, sardonically, “And if this country was any bigger I’d move even FARTHER away from her.”
Rightly or wrongly I always blamed her for all my problems. She always had this diminishing affect on me. And she’d really stick the knife in whenever I was at my most vulnerable. It was such a recurring pattern I had to figure she did it on purpose. But who knows, maybe it was subconscious. Or maybe it was just that we were two people ill-suited to relate to each other but forced to live side by side for 18 years in the pressure cooker that was our household.
Anyways after not talking to her for 20 years I got word she was coming through Berkeley and wanted to meet me.
I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. But after mulling it over I agreed to see her. Mostly out of morbid curiosity.
So there’s a knock on the front door of my apartment. I open the door and there she is. My mother. She comes in. The whole exchange only took about 5 minutes. We didn’t even sit down, we stood there facing each other warily like old adversaries, gunslingers.
She apologized right off the bat for how she had treated me as a kid (which was a first — up to this point she had always taken the position that she deserved to be awarded Mother of the Year and that I was an ungrateful lout for not appreciating how wonderful she was). And she said that she was stuck in such a bad position herself all those years — stuck in a bad marriage with my father the boob — that she took it out on me. Her face was really emotional when she said this, like she might start crying.
I don’t remember anything that I said. Or anything else about the exchange. But shortly after that she was gone and I was standing there in my apartment by myself.
Anyways after that exchange I gradually stopped hating my mother. I can’t say I ever really liked her. But I felt neutral about her and wished her the best. Which was something. It could have turned out a hell of a lot worse that’s for sure.
And over the ensuing years we would get together every now and then and go out for coffee or lunch. And make polite small talk between the two of us.