As I rode along in the car tonight on the way back from my brothers house, I found myself doing some "deep thinking" along with the radio. It's nice to be a passenger sometimes. You can lose yourself in the scenery out the window. We brought my mom to S's house, where she will spend the remainder of her weeks vacation. I was feeling like an awful daughter, because when the car turned on and we drove out of the driveway, I had a huge feeling of "thank God that's over" wash over me. This year she came for a short visit. She arrived Saturday afternoon, spent some time napping Saturday evening, went to Church Sunday and was gone a total of 5 hours.. and yesterday, after we all went blueberry picking, The Boy and I took the kids to the fair without her (it's hard on her and she had some stuff she wanted to do) and were gone 3.5 hours. Considering all of this.. it was still a VERY LONG visit.
As we drove along and I thought about the conversations and things that have gone over the past 4 days, and how I have felt about some things, I realized why I don't enjoy my mom's visits anymore. The woman who comes to stay, in the blue denim habit with the white veil isn't "my mom". "My mom" left that day 10.5 years ago that my dad told her (on the day I moved out mind you) that after 24 years of marriage, and 5 kids.. that he wanted a divorce. Months went by and we learned that not only did he not want to be married to her anymore, he said that he never actually loved her. It was a miserable time for her. I get that. The years went by and she revisited a childhood desire to explore the religious life, and I admire her for that. But she isn't the "mom" that I grew up with. She's not the same person now that she was before that fateful day. She's changed in a lot of ways, and become almost a new person. Even The Boy has noticed and commented about it. While I'm OK with it (mostly), the part of me that still remembers "mom" and subconsciously expects her to show up, misses her. I miss the "fun mom", and the mom that I could have long talks with about anything that I desired. I miss the mom that called just because, instead of to complain about this child, or that ailment or other such things. The mom, who, when she said that you are the light of her world and she loves and misses you... sounded like she meant it and made you feel that way. *MY mom*.
I take comfort in knowing that it's not just me who feels this way. S and I have discussed it some, and he thinks the same thing. There are some other issues, such as her overwhelming self centered-ness (maybe when you spend your days serving others you become a little self involved on your time off I don't know) and her attitude about how her children don't live up to her expectations of how she thinks we should deal with her being gone, and being home to visit. But I won't go there. I realized tonight that I need to change the way I think of her. Mourn the loss of "mom" and come to accept sister mom.