Dear Daughter of Finnlynn

Dear Daughter of Finnlynn:
This may get long, but please try to find the patience to read through to the end, if you read this blog. I read the other comments, and a lot of them are angry-sounding. Please understand that some of these comments are probably from people who love your mother, and may not really know you, so what you are seeing is defense of her, just as your friends would defend you.
I am a bit unique, as I have been on both sides of the estrangement issue. As a young girl, and only child, my parents were extremely dysfunctional. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother was consumed with my father’s problems. In the end, I felt like I had no childhood, and was forever being torn between them. I don’t know your whole situation, but I do know that your parents also had problems, and that they divorced when you were young.
Again, I can’t really speak for anyone else, but I have found my story is not really an unusual one. As a young adult, I was very resentful of my mother, more so than my father, because I felt like she was the strong one, and should have magically ‘fixed things’. Besides, she was always complaining about how bad he was, and he was always nice to ME!
I thought ALL other kids had a perfect family, or at least one way better than mine, and I was angry!!!
My solution was to stop talking to, or seeing my parents. I know it hurt my mother, because she would often call me, crying, but I didn’t care! I WANTED her to hurt! After all, it was her fault for marrying a faulty man, and lousing up my childhood!
I was a young, working professional when I met my husband. I had so many dreams, when he asked me to marry him, of having, finally, a perfect family! We did marry, and I was soon expecting. Oh I was going to be the mother like I wanted MY mom to be! I was going to love my child, and listen, and bake cookies, and never, ever say harsh things, much less spank him! We were going to have a cute little house with a yard for my boy to play in, and we were all going to live happily ever after!
Yeah. Right up until I realized the man I married was an alcoholic just like my dad. And soon we were fighting just like my parents. And soon I was putting my son in front of a TV set while I hid in the bedroom and cried. Oh, I still tried…I still baked cookies, and took him to playgrounds, and tried, oh so hard to be a good mommy. You have no idea how hard I tried. Then we got divorced. I was on my own for the first time in my life, past those few months after high school, but even then I’d lived with friends. Now I had bills to pay on a house that felt suddenly too big, a young child who cried for his daddy…a daddy that had already gotten a new girlfriend, and never looked back.
I still tried. I tried harder. I gave my son almost anything he wanted, because I felt so bad that he had no daddy. This time I blamed ME, because surely my husband was right when he told me that I was the reason he drank…right? No, it wasn’t right, but I didn’t know that until lots of years, and therapy, later.
My friends acted like my divorce was contagious, and I’d cut off my own parents. I was sooooo alone!!! So, I called my mom. I didn’t know what else to do. My hands were shaking, and I felt like I was going to puke, I was so scared of what might happen if/when she answered the phone. So scared.
But…she answered, and I blurted it all out. I never even said I was sorry, just that I was divorced, and struggling, and please help! There was a pause, and she said, simply, ‘I love you. I will come. Tell me where you are, and I will come, and it will be OK’.
It wasn’t all OK right away, but it got to be. And she was such a good gramma. And weirdly, my dad had stopped drinking, and was a good grandpa, too! My son thrived having no more drama, and just love from all these people around him. So did I. I didn’t realize I’d missed my mom, and now, having worn her shoes, I saw so much I never had.
I’m not going to tell you a fairy tale about how my mom, and dad, and I lived happily ever after. It didn’t happen that way. Once I got on my feet more, I found I still had a lot of resentments. I was lucky, though. I went to therapy, and didn’t have one who was a ‘quick fix’ idiot like so many are today. Today, so many therapists are all about the “ME” theory. You take care of you at anyone’s expense, and you don’t ‘work through’ things with anyone. If someone upsets you, you freeze them out, and move on. They are all about blaming the past, and not at all about personal responsibility. I know this because I ended up later going to school for psychology, and was appalled at some of what I was being taught.
Anyhow, in time, we worked through a lot of the baggage, my parents and I, and I realized I was doing that as much for my son as for me….I wanted him to have as many people who loved him as possible around. When my parents passed within a year of each other some 15 years ago, I felt orphaned, and then finally, really grew up. I had no one left to blame for anything. Just me. MY choices decided my life once I was 18, not my upbringing. I also realized there are no heroes, and no monsters. Oh, there are monsters…but not usually. MOST parents don’t physically abuse their children, or neglect their basic needs, or that sort of thing. MOST parents mean to do well, but sometimes life interferes. MOST are doing the best they can with what they know, and what they have at the time, and really? Can you condemn someone for that? For doing the best they could, even if it’s less or different than your own ideal? I decided I could not condemn them. Either of them. And one was not better than the other, either. They both had flaws and fortes…they were..oh my gosh…human.
Now, the irony is, many years later, my son has gone on to have his own little family….and guess what happened to me about 3 years ago?
He wrote to me after many months of unexplained silence, and told me he hated me, that his life, his family’s life, and his friends were NONE of my business, and he did not want to ever hear from me, or speak to me again. He actually told me he wished I was dead…or that I had at least died a long time ago, because….(ready?) I’d messed up his entire childhood! He told me he raised himself, and that I was the worst mother in the world, and that he was going to protect HIS daughter from being exposed to someone like me.
I literally fell to my knees, sobbing. I called, leaving messages, begging him, begging him…. and was met with only silence. He didn’t remember baking cookies, or snuggling in bed while I read him stories. He didn’t remember playgrounds, and puppies, and laughing… he didn’t remember Christmases, or birthdays, or…anything good. He remembered I failed him. And now, it was 26 years later, and I couldn’t go back and fix anything… I literally wanted to die. My heart, my son, my flesh of my flesh….hated me. Wanted me to die, or at least be gone gone gone. How could I fix that? Especially when so once was I…? Then I had more guilt…for what I knew now how my own mom felt…
Dear daughter of Finnlynn, I don’t know all the details, but I know your mom loves you more than you can imagine, and I know her heart breaks more than you can imagine. Look at your beautiful children, and imagine hearing someday what I did…that they don’t forgive you, no matter how hard you tried, because you don’t measure up to perfection, or anything even close to it. Don’t think it can’t happen. It’s an epidemic right now. Therapists are encouraging it. Friends of adult children are encouraging it. Spouses are encouraging it. It’s a horrible thing, dear daughter of Finnlynn.
Just last week, we finally made contact with each other again. But that’s another story for another time, except…….
Please consider someday soon, picking up the phone, and just saying…’mom? it’s me… we need to talk’… I promise you, it will be something you’ll never regret, and you’ll be shocked at how much you….and your children…will gain. Just do it. Not because ‘she gave birth to you and you owe her’. Not because you are ‘giving in’. Because mothers and children, maybe especially daughters and mothers, were never meant to be enemies, or even just furniture to each other. Maybe if you get to know your ‘mom of today’, you may find you like her. Nobody gets ‘do-overs’….but sometimes, if people are kind, and very lucky, they get ‘do-forwards’ that are pretty incredible.
Merry Christmas to you, and yours, from one daughter who thought she knew it all, to another.

~ Linda Huckabywreath

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7 thoughts on “Dear Daughter of Finnlynn

  1. What an incredibly honest from both sides of the coin letter!
    Thank you for posting this. I honestly hope it goes viral, many need to read this, both mothers and daughters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda, Thank you SO much for writing such an eloquent and honest letter…you may have just opened the door to reconciliation for others! I am printing this out to tuck away for my own estranged daughter to read, perhaps it will reach her in some way.
    All the best to you (((hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful and honest letter…full of the pain and regrets of estrangement. Lord I pray that it does not become generational. As mothers we do the best we can with the tools we have. Where oh where does the estrangement meanness come from? Divorce seems to be a cause for many…but I don’t know.
    I hope for reconsideration from estranged children.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh, this is my son too. He forgets all the good. All the love. My heart cries.
    Thank you for sharing your story. May your heart be healed. May all of our hearts be comforted.

    Liked by 1 person

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