I finished House Rules tonight, underlining and scribbling notes in the margins because I couldn’t find my highlighter.
I saw my family members in hers, Rachel the author. My mother was a key player, of course. But I was surprised how she took the role of both the father and the mother. The father was sick, controlling and demeaning. Abusive. The mother was the enabler, making excuses and choosing sickness over her children, a choice she was unaware she was making time and time again.
My mother justified my mother’s actions. She was cruel sometimes, but didn’t view her actions as anything more than lessons deserving for my bad behavior. I was bad. Selfish, inconsiderate, lazy. A poor example for my younger sisters–how many times I heard her say that! Her words cut deep into my security and sense of self; home was equivalent to a different four letter word.
Rachel was eventually estranged from her parents for her own sanity, to create the ability and opportunity to mold and manage her own life. I am estranged from my mother and my father. I hated that word estranged. But after reading Rachel’s story, estranged now means empowerment, the choice to create your own house rules, rules of love and self-acceptance.
She recalls the night she came to terms with being truly done with her parents. Her past replaced with freedom. And I realize I am not yet done. I am not yet free. I have one foot inside grief and guilt with the other foot wading in escape, toying with the idea of letting go of conditions and circumstance and living with both purpose and secure uncertainty.
I am just realizing the rules I must not just write, but that I must live by. Wholeheartedly experience freedom without regret pulling at my heartstrings. I honestly can say, I’m not quite ready to let go of Her.
Hope is something I have written, and as long as I have hope for a mom, my mom, I cannot fully jump in.