May 12, 2013

On Mother's Day

About seven years ago, I had to send a very difficult letter to someone I love very much. It was a letter asking them to not contact me anymore. For years, this person had been very hurtful to me - their words & actions selfish, cruel and very painful to be on the receiving end of. Blame, judgement, and manipulation that broke my heart on every possible occasion. The letter took me all day to write after a very heated phone call. It was a long time coming, this letter. I didn't want to have to write a letter like this one but in my heart, I knew that I needed to protect the parts of me that were not yet harmed by the actions of someone whose own hurt from a life of victim-thinking.

The person I wrote that letter to was my mother. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done. It was harder than laying my Granny (my favorite person in the world) to rest, it was harder than when my oldest son's birth father left me when I was six months pregnant, it was harder than accepting the fact that my brother's schizophrenia diagnosis meant that the ideal of my brother that I hung onto from childhood was gone forever.

But writing that letter was something that I needed to do out of respect for my own right to be treated well and to model to my children where the boundaries lay for what I will and won't accept in my life. However, I now do not have any communication with my mom. Not ever. But that means she's respecting my request. It also means that when I said "until you can treat me with kindness & respect, I can't know you," maybe nothing has really changed.

Today is Mother's Day. My husband brought me the prettiest breakfast in bed, my youngest son hugged & kissed me and wished me a  happy Mother's Day. My oldest (14years) is sound asleep still but when he wakes up, he'll have something nice to say. He usually does. I won't be hearing from my mom and I won't be calling her. Is it out of stubbornness? No. It is out of a sense of self preservation. Dont' think that I haven't given her thousands of chances. I have. I can remember most of them. Some dating as far back as my primary school years. That's not a great feeling to carry with you when thinking of your mother. I wish she was the mom who would send me flowers at random, or a pretty card in the mail (without the religious content being shoved down my throat), lunches together or special trips. Or, in truth, just a hug that felt totally sincere or a kind word like "you're beautiful" or "I'm proud of you" or on a day like today "You're such a good mom".

I accepted a long time ago that she can't be the mom I wish she was. I am entirely ok with that, I just wish she'd be willing to take responsibility for her part in our relationship and be motivated to take steps to fix it just a little. I would give it another chance if I thought she'd sincerely do some work on herself too. Seems fair.

But all that aside, she's not perfect, I'm not perfect. We may not speak and our differences may keep us from repairing the damage that the years have done. I don't know. But what I do know is that she's my mama. The only one I ever had. I do love her. I miss her. I just wish we could find some middle ground. Respect and kindness don't seem like too much to ask for. I hope she's getting breakfast in bed today from her husband. I absolutely love who I am and while that's due in part to years of hard work done by me, she DID raise me and for that I am grateful.

She taught me to be creative, how to make a humble home feel beautiful, how to make fabulous food for my friends & family, how to sew, a few botched attempts at driving stick in high school, about makeup, a few awkward conversations about boys and about friends. I have innumerable memories of a beautiful childhood. I hang onto that dearly. Happy Mother's day, mom.

Miss you.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same relationship with my mom for the same reasons as you. I feel like you wrote my story, except that you have a few more positive memories of childhood. It's hard to set boundaries, but it's necessary. Glad to know I am not the only one in this situation. Thank you for sharing.