The Matron thought long and hard about posting this (well, okay, more than 30 seconds) because her brother and sister--not her mother--know about and sometimes read this blog. She understands that they have an entirely different relationship with their mother than the Matron does. So this is her experience, only.
When the Matron was a Youngish Miss, 29 or 30, something disturbing happened to her. All she wanted to do was run this event by her mother, even though past experience and common sense told her that such Outreach would not unfold as hoped for. What Young Miss hoped for was that her mother would say something like this: "I love you. Everything is going to be all right. "
Seems like reasonable enough expectations?
Instead, here's what her mother said in the dark face of her daughter's crisis and need: "Please don't tell me anything about your personal life again."
Yes, she can hear you gasping. And you know those are the exact words, because how can you forgot something like that?
Those words broke Young Miss's heart. She hung up the phone and wept for hours. Thankfully, Young Miss was seeing a very wise therapist at the time who declared her mother's statement a great gift. The therapist advised the Matron to honor her mother's request and not tell her anything about her personal life, ever, again.
Wait until she asks about something, advised the therapist. Only then, because you'll know that your mother really wants to know.
To this day, the Matron's mother does not know where her daughter works, the kind of classes she teaches, how relationship with her husband is, what her dissertation was on, what she minored in in college or graduate school, if she's volunteering at school or elsewhere, how the births of the children went, if there's retirement or college money, what restaurants the Matron likes or what books she's been reading.
Her mother never asks.