I was having a conversation with someone just yesterday about her relationship with her mother and well, she sadly described her mother as manipulative. Pero esperate! As a mother, quickly I defended my fellow mother and said, “she just doesn’t want you to move and is glad for the extra time she’ll have with you, she’s gonna find the change difficult” Pero, the quick response was “No. She knows how to manipulate me and get her way” And what did I do? I pulled out my mothering portfolio. Asi soy yo? Do my kids see me like that… then it went to my marriage relationship. Do I use my words and feelings to manipulate? Hijole!
We carry into our new relationships so much baggage, so much old things, hidden things and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Relationships can take so many turns, verdad que si? Some relationships are easier to maneuver than others. Hijole! This sounds like a therapy session huh? Pero, I had a beautiful conversation with my sister this week, it was very therapeutic. She shared with me a beautiful memory and it turned out to be another puzzle piece in my own memories and conclusions of mi ama. I was so grateful for it, through my sister, my ama gave me a useful tool to use as I practice relationships.
When I was 15 years old, I had stepped into some nasty reality. It felt gross and I angrily formed judgments, from my perspective my parents weren’t doing things well at all! and our lives shouldn’t be affected negatively. I would take care of my own heart. I built walls of protection, that weren’t much protection at all! They were ungrateful walls of pride and “stinking thinking” like my pastor says. Thankfully at 18 years old God drew me to him and his reality and He has carried me through the seasons of life. That was almost 4 decades ago and of course as I’ve entered into my own relationships I’ve understood and experienced some of the ugly realities of life. I’ve learned to push back against the lies and misconceptions, face the facts and use the freedom I have to make right and good choices for my life that will affect others. I do not have to accept what the devil wants to throw at me, I do not have to conform to the ways of this world, even though I live here.
As I continue to learn to learn and practice good healthy habits in relationships, I am ever grateful for those surprises of healing that come unexpectedly.
As Marina and I were talking and comparing notes on how God speaks to us and shows us the concern he has for the littlest of details in our lives, we turned to talking about the most vulnerable and sometimes very difficult relationship we are experiencing, our marriage relationship. That relationship that God created for a man and a woman, God said that it was not good for man to be alone. Por supuesto que my latina, novela driven mind explodes at what that first meeting must have been like for the man and his wife. Eve, innocent, batting her lashes and Adam exploding at the gift? The responsibility? The journey? That lay before him. Anyway, back to my story.
As women we yearn to express so freely our love for our husbands, to tell them, to show them, but circumstances or history or baggage inhibit us. There we were on the phone talking about how hard it is to just be free to express our amor, then Marina said, “Don’t you remember the way my mom always kissed dad on the forehead?” Explosion in my head! Like a wrecking ball hitting a strong wall of pride. Y yo dije “What?! I don’t remember that? I never saw my ama kiss dad, never!” And Marina was surprised, because she saw it often. Como? How was it that I never saw that? Pero asi es, some memories stick more than others. For Marina all these years it has been something else she learned from our ama and now practices it and it pulls her through whatever wave wants to knock her down. When things are sticky and difficult. When walls of isolation want to stubbornly climb higher and higher, she’ll do like our ama did and look at her husband and while he’s busy, not even interrupting him, she goes over to him and kisses him on the forehead and it helps her.
I was humbled again at my mothers strength. I again appreciated her perseverance in the most difficult relationship she chose to maintain. I was happy that I could see beyond the “facts” and I told Marina that I too was going to use that kiss to break down a wall. I left that conversation so incredibly blessed for the kiss my ama gave me.