I didn't understand the magic of those words then, and I don't understand it now. I know only this: that when my mother told me she had not been the mother to me that she wished she had been, she became that mother for the first time.

This quotation occurs in Chapter 31, after Tara's mother apologizes for failing to protect her daughter from Shawn. Tara is moved by Faye's apology and feels truly loved for the first time. This is a moment when Tara feels a sense of hope about the future relationship she might someday have with her family. Her mother's apology makes it seem possible that they are starting a new chapter, and that things are going to be different in the future. It also represents a new dynamic because in Tara's family, the parents are usually unquestioned figures of authority. This quotation represents the first time one of her parents admits that they have made a mistake, and have regrets.