05/12/2013 10:31 am ET Updated Jul 12, 2013

The Mother-Child Dance Lasts Forever

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Back and forth. Side to side. Push and pull. Around and around. The mother-child dance can last forever. I'm starting to see it in my own daughter. "Don't touch me, mom!" when I attempt one of the impromptu hugs we've shared for her 14 years. "Wait, mom, don't leave!" she runs to hug me before I walk out the door. Every time.

I understand. At her age I couldn't stand my mother. I also couldn't stand myself when I would go to her -- with problems, concerns or just to share a laugh; all the while, telling myself I did not want her in my life.

The distance between us, emotionally and physically, grew longer as I got older. However, even when I lived 3,000 miles away, I do not think I ever went longer than a few weeks without talking to my mother.

If you want to make a woman mad, tell her she is like her mother.

I've gone to great lengths to distance myself from her traits and opinions... but many linger in me. I see them when I "straighten out" (her term) my own children.

The biggest difference between us is she is dependent and clingy and I am independent and okay on my own. It took me many years to realize, I am like I am because she is who she is.

The love-hate dance does indeed last a lifetime. Even friends who have lost their mother still struggle with unresolved 'issues' as though they are still with their moms.

It is said that forgiving our parents is the beginning of mental health. Well then, loving our parents for who they are, or were, must be the beginning of inner peace.

My mom is 80 now and we continue the dance. Some days she doesn't want to be bothered with me, and some days I don't want to be around her.

However, there is something I can admit now. Finally.

I love my mother for who she is.