Which is better; to forgive or to forget? And by that I mean; to forgive the person who wronged you, or to forget the relationship you had with that person, because there can be no forgiveness.
I talk a lot about my dad here, but I don't say much about my mom. Up until I went off to college, I was very close with my mom. Every friday night, while all the boys in the house would go off to shul, me and my mom would sit on a couch together, and read, and talk about our weeks.
In high school my mom was always sticking up for me. When my principle tried to tell my parents that I should consider going to a different school, because since I wore all black all the time I must be depressed depressed (and depressed people can't go to jewish school of course), my mom, who was wearing all black at the time (as all true new york artists do), laughed in her face and told her off. Expulsion averted. When on "mother daughter day" at school I wore a bright green and yellow shirt, and a teacher came up to me asking why i had to wear THAT shirt when all the mothers would be there, my mom got all up in her face and told her that my shirt didn't violate any part of the dress code, so she should leave me alone.
It wasn't just that my mom had my back, or that she was standing up to religious figures. It was that she thought for herself, and never took any crap. When my mom was my age (or younger) she decided to go to art school against her father's wishes, and later worked for some kick ass art designers (before she had kids and became a stay at home mom). It must have been tough for her, since going to art school isn't exactly the top career choice for young jewish women.
Now, I didn't admire everything about my mom. For instance, when I was around 10 or 11, she stopped talking to the person who had been her best friend for almost as long as I was alive. Her best friend, who had become a baal teshuva for her husband, decided when she caught her husband cheating on her that orthodoxy was a bunch of hipocracy, and stopped being orthodox. My mom stopped talking to her, and forbade me from talking to her son, who was my best friend for almost as long as I had been alive. That never sat right with me.
Anyways, getting back to our relationship-
In college something changed. I'm not sure what it was. Maybe it was that I decided to go to grad school sometime around freshman year, which suddenly made me a lot closer with my dad (who has a phd). Maybe it was that I started studying the gendered division of labor in the home, which she took as a personal insult, as if I was studying the topic because I disapproved of her life. Maybe it was just natural, given that I was off making new friends and figuring out my identity. Maybe it was that I was open about not being religious for the first time.
When I got engaged to my ex fiance, our relationship improved a bit. My mom was really into planning the wedding, and we spent a lot of time together running around and planning things. But then once me and my ex broke up, my mom became noticeably cooler towards me. I think she was disappointed that after all her planning, the wedding wasn't going to go on. I also think that despite the fact that my ex is the one who called it off, that my mom unconsciously (or consciously) blamed me for the relationship ending. I was definitely not going to be following in her footsteps now; I was headed off to graduate school soon, I wasn't getting married when she thought I would be, and I wasn't religious anymore. Our relationship became increasingly estranged, until we got to the point where we would talk about school and gardening maybe, and not much else. Certainly nothing that actually affected me. She told me not to speak to my youngest brother, so I wouldn't be a 'bad influence' on him. She blamed me for my other brother not being religious (although he stopped keeping kosher before I did! But I was older so it was my fault).
In grad school for a while I called her at least once a week, having these weird conversations about school and gardening. Up until I told her about B that is. After that, if I mentioned anything having to do with B, she would talk over me on the phone. For the first year and a half we were dating, every time I would talk to my mom on the phone, I would hang up and feel hurt. The last time I saw her was on memorial day- she told me I couldn't take leftovers home if I was going to share them with "that person you live with." The last time I spoke to her was when I got engaged in July- I called to tell her and was met with total silence. When I eventually asked if she was going to say anything she responded "I have nothing to say. You know how I feel."
This shouldn't have come as a surprise, given how she treated her former best friend of over 10 years who decided to leave orthodoxy. That doesn't make it any less hurtful.
I do miss her though. I understand why she is acting the way she is, as by her perspective I am rejecting everything about her, which she probably takes pretty personally. But I don't think there is anything I can do to change that.
So now I have two choices going forward; do I try to work on forgiving her, despite how hurt I am that she would reject me now because of my choices. Do I reach out to her, even though she probably doesn't want a relationship with me (because of those choices). Do I start trying again, even though I know she will never accept me, and that every time I try to reach out to her, I will get hurt. Or do I forget her? Do I work on trying to feel less bad about the fact that I will never have a real relationship with her, unless I completely change everything about me. Do I try to stop burning with jealousy every time I hear about someone's close relationship with their mother? Like every hurt, It will probably fade with time.
I was thinking of reaching out and calling her today to wish her a happy new years. But every time I reach for the phone, I am reminded how hurt I still am by the way she has treated me the entire time I have been dating B, the way she reacted to my engagement, and that she hasn't once tried to contact me since then (Not that I've tried to contact her either I suppose). Just writing about what has happened between us makes me so angry, and sad. I've been trying to be less angry about these things. If I was just sad, I could reach out to her. But that anger is still there, and instead of diminishing with time, it is just getting stronger. So is it time to move on?