Hahaha – I first read this as challenging relationships and I was avoiding it, as I am wont to do! I read it correctly just now and am much relieved!
I remember the first time I was conscious of a changing relationship. When, in my early 20s, my widowed mother was dating again. I watched her giddy as a school girl. I found her occasionally seeking relationship advice. I found myself thinking how odd and unprecedented it was that our roles had somehow flipped. And I found myself trying to not have an opinion on each relationship even though I did. Then trying to keep said opinion to myself and allow my mom the freedom to make her own way, even when it meant she got hurt. Sometimes we all got hurt.
I guess agency can bite no matter how old you are.
Our relationship changed the most when, just days into becoming a mother myself, I called her and told her “I’m sorry, I had no idea.” And “Thank you!” And “Oh. I get it.” Even though I only just…
Perhaps the mother-daughter relationship simply becomes more fluid as soon as the daughter enters adulthood? They can be mother-daughter. Friends. Frenemies. And, as it was when my mother had cancer, the daughter can mother the mother even through an experience where she perhaps needs nurture/mothering more than ever before in her life.
I watched my mother become a grandmother to my own kids and grandmother at least the oldest clear into adulthood. Sometimes I’m a little sad when I consider how much she would have loved being a great grandma. Although the fact she is not here doesn’t make her any less a great grandmother.