it's mother's day once again. i have never been comfortable with this holiday because i couldn't find cards that fit my relationship with my mom. i could of lied and gotten her one of those that said she was the greatest mother in the world... but it felt fake and i felt like a phony doing so. she was wounded, and passed her pain onto us kids. i know she did her best as far as she thought she was doing... but on the receiving end of "her best," it turned out to be the worst.
my favorite movie as a little girl was Mary Poopins [that's what i called her] and i must of seen that movie at least 6 times in the cinema. i would cry in the darkness of the theatre and wish with all of my heart that Mary Poopins could be my mom. not for any other reason except that she was so kind and wasn't mean. she seemed pure, and as though she would be approachable to talk about whatever i needed to. i think she would have let me hug her. i know that sounds so childish, but that's what i was at the time, a child. i thought stuff in movies were real back then.
in retrospect, i do not think those attributes are too much for a little kid to wish for in a mother, yet i always felt guilty for even thinking about wanting those things... like i was betraying my mom because i wished she was someone she could never be.
so what is a mother, in all essence of the word? isn't she supposed to be someone who loves you unconditionally, is kind, affectionate, doesn't shame you for anything, and encourages you to become who you really are? my mom wasn't like that. there were strings attached on receiving her approval which i never did get anyways, and love was not spoken of. and she had a reason why i always fell short of getting those. honestly, i was just never good enough. funny how that validates what i was taught by the nuns that i would never be good enough to be with God, either.
she pushed me away when i wanted to be held or wanted to hug her. she sexualized everything, and i always felt dirty because of the things she would say. i never knew when i would get the leather belt for whatever reason she justified to herself that i deserved it. my point is, there didn't have to be a reason.
my intention was not to get into all the fun facts of my childhood. i do not like to bring up stuff from my past, yet i have always been uncomfortable with this holiday because i still have longing, sadness, and pain due to my [lack of] relationship with my mom. and it's too late now because it was never resolved before she died. the only thing that makes this holiday bearable is my own children... and that's enough for me. even today, between the mothers i know and the strangers i see in public who are interacting with their child lovingly, i still ache for what i didn't have. i don't know if that will ever heal.
when i became a mom i tried to be all the things my mom wasn't. i guess that's the only thing i can do so as not to repeat her mistakes and behaviors. i always tell my kids how proud i am of them, how much i love them, and they tell me back. imagine that! reciprocity! when i was growing up, i couldn't say i love you to my mom's face, i felt too ashamed for having emotion. so when the need to tell her i loved her built up inside me, i wrote her little notes which i snuck into her clothes drawers with the hope she would find them. when i couldn't stand the silence any longer, with a huge lump in my throat and overwhelming fear, i would ask her if she found them. she would nod without looking at me, just staring at the TV smoking her cigarette and that was the whole interaction!
those of you who are wonderful moms [every one of you i know, ARE] keep loving your kids the way you do and you will turn out happy, healthy, and secure humans by the time you are done. if you still have your own mom around and its a good relationship, treasure it because too many of us do not even know what that feels like. let your mom know how much you appreciate her. although it is usually taken for granted, it's a privilege to be close to your parents... it really is.
i know my mom's best attributes were that she was always at home, always had yummy meals for us, our house was always spick and span clean even into the corners, and she instilled her native French language in all of us. i do appreciate those things because later in life i always held my own standards against hers in those areas. we were very poor growing up but she always said "there is always soap and water so there is no excuse to be in dirty clothes, or live in a messy dirty home" and she's right.
i know i was born and raised by her for a reason and it certainly could have been way worse... i understand today that she didn't know how to be anything different than who she was. i look at her pictures of her youth, she was so beautiful, and had a smile that lit up her face. what i think happened is that she soon regretted marrying my father because he lied, cheated on her alot, and became addicted to speed as he was a truck driver and needed to stay awake for a long time. then the ultimate of betrayals- he abandoned her with 4 young children and left her to fend on her own. he just left and no one knew where he was. she didn't have the necessary tools to cope and I'm sure her heart was broken.. she was overwhelmed, stressed out, worried, and became very vindictive and bitter... which she took out on us.
it seems the older i become, the more understanding i can be about the terrible things that happened to me [us] growing up. but i still hold her accountable for those things, and i have not fully forgiven her yet. I'm working on it. time helps me peel off yet another layer of insight. ironically, i found myself in the same situation as she was in, for different reasons. and i compare how i took my power back and turned everything around to have a better life and outcome than her. i am sad that she lacked whatever it takes to do that. i am sad no one encouraged her to make a better life for us. i am sad that her family didn't help her. i can't pinpoint the thing that separates her from me or that gave me the ability to do what i did and not her.
i would like to believe she would be proud of me today for breaking the cycle of abuse or settling for a life on welfare. but i didn't get her approval on anything when she was alive so what makes me think she would give it now if she were here... one thing that i hang on to desperately, because it's all i have left, is my hope in the belief that once we face God, we realize the pain we have caused to others and ourselves... and the results of the things we didn't do, that we should of. in that realization would come the sorrow, the understanding, the regret, and the clarity of who we were supposed to be but weren't because of issues we could not either see, or overcome when we were alive. if any of that is true, then both of my parents are in a state of sorrow and now realize what they have done, just as i will when my turn comes. maybe existing in that state of sorrow is what Hell really is. and maybe once we reunite, and we see them for the souls they were intended to be but weren't because of their lack of ability to overcome their issues and baggage, we can finally feel their love in a pure and safe fashion... the way it should have been in the first place. this is just my personal theory and hope... otherwise i see no other way to reconcile.
my mom and me- age 2.