Perhaps what leapt out at me from this story, Beth, were two things that keep me sane: I believe strongly that we choose our parents. That’s a big one, and a huge conversation, but since I also believe that we draw ALL our experiences to us so that we are useful to others. While I have no clue that this is true, that approach has allowed me to own every single thing that has happened to me. Not always, and I by god want to find blame at times, because it can be brutally hard to ask why in God’s name I might have chosen X experience. Well, Beth, because X experience has taught me perspective, compassion and grace. That’s why. When I invest in blame, I invest in victimhood. I hand my power away. And in doing so I cannot climb out of the ditch I’ve dug for myself for then I am forever looking for a savior, when not only did I dig the damned ditch in the first place and lie down in it, but also I’m the one who has to find a way to climb back out. The other piece is just being so very aware that our mothers in particular gave up so very much of their own life, hopes, dreams, ambitions and every other damned thing that culture and society had deemed them unworthy to chase. Or, if they did, they suffered the sanctions for it. The business of embracing our mothers as fully realized human beings who had lives that most certainly did NOT include us before we showed up is a radical act of freedom. For as you say, those of you/us who had daughters can learn from, or repeat, what we were given. Forgiveness, mercy, grace and the exquisite joy of seeing our mums as unique, interesting, engaging people are what might just give us the strength (and humor) to dodge the inevitable barbs.