After Brooke’s mother passed away, she felt completely lost. How do you find your way in this world without someone telling you how and who to be?
Her mother had been all-knowing. She was smarter than everyone, knew better than everyone. Brooke idealized her mom, because she didn’t have the option to question or doubt her: “I loved you so much, that for so long I put you before me. I blindly defended you because you are my mom. It was often just that simple.”
Now, as a mom herself, Brooke sometimes catches herself acting like her mother with her own children…wanting them to idealize her and think she always knew best: “As a mom, I admit I sometimes wish my daughters looked up to me with the same undaunted devotion as I did you because I imagine it felt good.”
She admits moments of feeling hurt, and even indignant when her daughters question her, or point out her mistakes. Then she realizes: this is a good thing – they are secure, independent and confident – this is how you want them to be.
I also don’t want them to have to carry that burden. I carried you, mom, because I loved you and needed you, but I needed to learn to care for myself too. I remain conflicted because I felt like you never really let me in, yet you absorbed me so far in that I could hardly find my way out. I was navigating your demons. I was trying to do for you what only you could do for yourself. I was never going to ‘fix” you. I see too, that much of your happiness was independent of anything I did or was, but as a child, one carries that responsibility. I did not have faith that you would be okay, so I kept trying to be the source of your happiness and self-worth.