My parents have been visiting from the UK. It’s the first time they’ve been to Avalon since our wedding here on the farm so you can imagine what a huge effort we put into trying to get all the outstanding jobs finished before they arrived (the thing is, there are always a million jobs still to do on a farm . . . )
We have always fought like cat and dog. I was so angry and felt so rejected when I was sent away to boarding school aged 8 and I hated school and didn’t try, so I didn’t get good grades and I was an endless disappointment to my parents who knew how intelligent I really was. I was an angry and troubled soul who rebelled as a teenager. I hurt myself as much as I hurt them – smoking, drinking, sex games etc Of course I failed miserably in my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and the family myth is that I got expelled for smoking. At least with a change of schools and a headmistress who saw past the bluff and bluster to the pure heart beyond (thank and bless you Miss Hibbert you turned my life around and were the first person who gave me reason to believe in myself) I finally made good friends and began to belong.
My lesbian liaison didn’t help relationships with my parents and my subsequent heterosexual hedonism was more cause for concern and criticism. Then I had an abortion and ran away to Hong Kong and pastures new.
Relationships were always strained and full of censure although we always had our honeymoon periods before I crashed and burned in some way in my selfish acts of self sabotage. Needless to say I have been the black sheep and true to form have dabbled in all the addictions and explored far and dark horizons of the soul, psyche and society.
Not surprising them that they have viewed my spiritual journey with mistrust, that they have had to pick up the pieces financial and otherwise more times than any of us care to count or mention. If their story has been one of disappointment, frustration and despair, mine has been that of rejection, lack of love and never being seen or heard for who I truly am rather than measured up to who they want me to be.
Needless to say its a relationship of tears and sorrow, rage and rejection and failure from all sides to forgive, let go, start afresh or see the other’s point of view. Part of the problem is that we are all so alike. Not only did I inherit my father’s nose, varicose veins, dodgy hip and temper, but I inherited my Mother’s constant criticism, aspirational nature and love of nice things, wealth and money.
Somewhere in there though is a pure and innocent, trusting and perfect heart.
This year as you know I have travelled deeply into my story and my self hatred, I am learning to forgive and nurture and be kinder to myself. I have been opening my heart space with my ‘Heart of Yoga’ and have released a million tears and some long held heartache. Instead of being a cold hard stone in my chest my heart is a living breathing thing. I have had a huge shift.
None of us are getting any younger and who knows when or if we will see each other again or whether they will visit Australia one more time so we were all determined not to fight or fall out. We all decided not to spend too much time together and to bite our tongues and we succeeded. By the second week when we had hardly spent any time together we all realised how much we loved each other and even had some beautiful times and some precious memories I will treasure in my heart forever.
Showing my parents the pristine rainforest of Angle Creek I held my Mother’s hand many times as she clambered over rocks – I don’t remember ever holding my Mother’s hand before. Papery, warm, small and gentle, it was beautiful and somehow in those moments in the healing cathedral of green that is Angle Creek, where Mother Nature comes to rest, heal, nourish and nurture, something between us that has been broken for 40 something years was finally mended. A miracle happened and I realised that contrary to my life ‘s lament that I hate my Mother and that we don’t get on, I realised that I love her. Always have, always will.
She isn’t perfect, she is sometimes very unkind, she sometimes says things that are cruel or hurtful or thoughtless. So do I. But like me she has a golden heart. Like me, she had a far from perfect childhood and was abused and damaged. Like me she longs to be loved and shows her love with the giving of gifts. Like me she has a doughy belly and snake like skin on her shins.
Maybe the reason we have butted heads so often and for so long is because we have looked in our mirror reflections of each other and not liked what we have seen . . .
But finally, aged 45, in the middle of my life, I am able to proudly say ‘I love my Mother’, I am part of her, she is part of me, she made me, grew me, nurtured me, shaped me. I chose her for a reason – so I could learn what love is and what love isn’t and finally learn to forgive and love unconditionally. I love you Mummy, I really do x