About six or seven years ago, I was living far away from my parents while my husband attended flight school. I would stay at my parents’ house when I came home to visit every couple of months.
One night during one of those visits, my parents had already gone to bed and I heard my mom’s voice as I passed by their room on the way to mine.
I stopped and stood outside their bedroom door, being very careful not to make a sound, and I listened.
I listened as my mom asked, “She’s your daughter, too, right?”
I listened as my dad replied, “Yes. She’s your daughter and she’s my daughter, too.”
I listened as my heart thumped inside my chest and I realized what the subject of this private and intimate conversation had been.
I felt like an intruder.
In their conversation.
In their home.
In their lives.
She didn’t know who I was. I may as well have been a stranger renting a room inside their home.
My heart ached as I remembered how excited my mom was to see me earlier that day when I arrived. I wondered if it had been genuine or if she was feigning recollection until she had a private moment to ask my dad who this girl was.
I’ll never know.
It wasn’t the first time she forgot who I was and it wouldn’t be the last. As much as those moments hurt, they began to hurt less over time. Not because it wasn’t as devastating that my own mom didn’t know who I was, but because I got used to her not knowing.
That, and I simply refused to believe that she really didn’t know me. Maybe she forgot my name and who I was to her, but there was no way she had forgotten me.
Not my heart or my soul.
Not my presence or my voice.
Not my love for her or her love for me.
Those were things she never forgot.
How do I know that? Well, I don’t, really. I will never know that for sure. But that is what I chose to believe.
For my mom.
For our relationship.
And I hope you will choose to believe it, too.