Most everyone you talk to will have some friction with a parent or relative. Maybe this is because of a wrongdoing from childhood, be it unkind words, physical abuse, neglect, or any number of traumas that often come with raising another human being. While the severity can differ it can be hard to find closure or acceptance of yourself when you have been wronged by someone meant to love and protect you from the harshness of the world. I've found myself recently struggling with the strained and essentially nonexistent relationship I've had with my mother. I understand that my experience isn't the worst by far, but I hope to share some of the insights I've gained.
I always imagined I would be surrounded by many creatures when I was young. My grandparents were close friends with the head of the local nature center, which gave me a unique set of early memories. One of my most vivid was a hot fall evening in the mid-90s. The head of the nature center was taking a collection of snakes, a cougar, and a small, docile black bear cub back to the nature center in Tennessee after an educational program. The bear cub was hungry and tired of being locked in the moving truck, so they decided to stop by my grandparent's house nestled in the North Georgia mountains for a rest. A photograph of me tentatively petting the bear cub still hangs on my fridge today. It sparked a love in me for all creatures and a desire to have them in my life.