As I was scrolling through my Timehop, I came across a picture. That picture was of my mother and my daughter Midna when she was two. My daughter Bell was sitting next to me and she said, “Mommy, who is that lady holding Midna?”
It hit me. It hit me so hard that I felt like it took my breath away.
You see, I know there’s no relationship there. I know it’s been years. I know she doesn’t know who she is and Midna, my 11-year-old, probably wouldn’t recognize her in the street if she bumped into her. However, something about that moment, that question, made me pause and think.
As I sat there I pondered for a few minutes what to say. Would it be best to pretend she was an old friend? No. Would it be best to say she died? No. Would it be best to lie? No. None of these options seemed acceptable.
However, telling my daughter—my amazing daughter—that her grandmother wants nothing to do with her seemed so hard.
I took a deep breath and said, “Baby, that is Mommy’s mom, your grandma.”
Of course, this was followed by, “Why haven’t I met her”?
“You met her when you were five days old, and that’s the last time we saw her?” I watched the puzzled look and confusion cross my beautiful daughter’s face.
“Why haven’t we seen her, doesn’t she love us? Doesn’t she want to know me?”
Again, I paused. I wanted to scream that no, she doesn’t love us. Instead, I said, “Baby, in her own way, she probably does love you, but she’s just not a healthy person to be around right now.”
Again, that puzzled look.
“Why not?” she asked me.
“Your grandma, my mother, chose to walk out of our lives because she is listening to someone she shouldn’t and all we can do is pray that someday, something will change, and we can find the forgiveness to forgive her.”
Thankfully, that answer satisfied my daughter. After that moment she went about her day.
Me? I sat there thinking about the things she had asked and what I had said. It’s been since Bell was six days old. That means nearly nine years at this point. My oldest daughter is 11. I know I am not alone in this. I know there’s a daughter or even a son out there reading this who feels this hurt. It’s an indescribable wound to know that your own parent doesn’t care about not only you but your child. It’s unfathomable for me to look at my girls and think that one day I would just be done with them.
I’m here to tell you that writing my mother off completely was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m here to tell you that although it’s tempting to give chances and let that person back in. It’s not always worth it. That doesn’t mean that this is always the case. A person can change or heal and come around.
It’s just important to think about the repercussions of ever bringing that person into your children’s lives if you wonder if they’ll walk back out.
Of course, it hurts and it stings, but it’s much easier to tell my children, who don’t know her, that she isn’t healthy to be around than for her to come to see them and walk in and out of their lives.
This is what happened when my oldest was a toddler, but thankfully, she doesn’t remember since she was two the last time she saw her.
Me? I’ll always have the memories. I’ll always wonder why. I’ll always and forever look at my beautiful girls and think of how insane she is to miss out on them. I know they are loved—so loved, but your own mother not loving your babies is a whole new kind of hurt.
If you’re like me and you’re struggling with a parent or other family member writing off you and your babies, I feel you. You are not alone. I’m praying for you. I’m praying for them.