The Sharp Edges of Mother’s Day

In America Mother’s Day, which is a week from this Sunday, is kind of a big deal, no doubt driven by the greeting card companies, florists and major retailers. That’s not to say that I don’t think mothers (where ever you are in the world) shouldn’t be honored and celebrated that day. And from a purely mother’s perspective I am totally looking forward to Mother’s Day, although I really don’t need a “day” to celebrate or mark that I am a mom. I truly love being a mom and I thoroughly like and love my kids. But it gets tricky when I think of my relationship with my own mother.

This is not an easy blog entry for me to write because I have to admit that for reasons I absolutely do not comprehend my mother despises me. There, I said it. She sounds EXTREMELY irritated when I call, and basically refuses to even speak unless I ask her very specific questions, to the point that I just don’t call anymore. I got the message loud and clear. When I see her on FB and try to strike up a conversation I get one word answers in return. When I sent her the link to my latest project (a podcast series) and then followed up with asking her if she had seen it yet, she said she hadn’t and then when I tried to explain the ins and outs of following the link I sent her, she refused to follow it and got snippy with me. Okaaaay.  And all of this sounds SO flippin’ pathetic. I’m the poor grown up little girl with “mommy issues”. Yuck. Turns my stomach to even write this stuff because of how it looks. But I’m not airing my dirty laundry to garner sympathy. What good would that do? None. I know I’m not the only out there has a “difficult” relationship with her mom. I hope that if you’re out there reading this and it’s not all sunshine and roses with your mom (no matter how old you are, you still need your mom) you can know after reading this that you’re not alone and that sometimes stuff just happens that you can’t fix or even explain in 25 words or less. Our relationship has been “complicated” for as long as I can remember: me, looking exactly like my father; a man whom she despised with every fiber of her being while I was growing up, and she let me know it in no uncertain terms on numerous occasions (a note to anyone reading this who is divorced: NEVER, EVER badmouth your ex anywhere near your children, it absolutely scars them). And yet I know now that it wasn’t me she hated. She hated herself (for reasons and situations that were far before my time) and was hurting in far deeper ways than my childish mind and heart could either understand or heal. God knows I would have waved my magic wand a thousand times if I could have made our lives together more pleasant (I lived with my mom and saw my dad on the weekends). When I became an adult I continued to try to connect with her and continued to strive to be the most perfect human being I could imagine in on-going futile efforts to gain her acceptance.

Fast forward a few years: grandchildren have been on the scene (they’re 16 & 15) and she’s shown no interest in having a relationship with them. Our kids do have special needs, so whatever relationship she would have had with them wouldn’t look like other grandma/grandchildren relationships, but it could be something, and something’s better than nothing, right? When my son was 7 she called to tell me that based on a television talk show she had seen she felt he was autistic. Up to this point she had seen our son twice in his life. I honestly thought she was joking, so I laughed. When I realized she was earnestly trying to diagnosis him from across the country I tried to explain the many facets of autism (as I understood them at the time) and that while our son definitely had some of the behaviors you might see in a non verbal child with autism, that didn’t necessarily mean he was autistic. She didn’t talk to me for two years after that. (Ironically it was our daughter who was diagnosed as being on the spectrum the following month after that phone call.)

A couple of years ago I saw on her FB page she was engaged. I called to congratulate her and she lit into me for 45 minutes about what a screw up I was (am).  I only know her new husband’s name and I never got an invitation to the wedding.  So she’s pissed. I get that. I still have no idea what I’ve done. So where do I go from here? I think I lay down my entitlements to know “why” she despises me. I think I just accept that she needs to hate someone and that target is still me.  Well hey, as the only child I guess I should relish my perpetual starring roll, even if it is in a play I not only had no part in writing but also have no desire to continue to star in, right?

There’s less than no chance she’ll read this, and that’s fine. But if unicorns jump over rainbows and you do see this Mom, please know that I do love you.  I don’t want anything from you. I’m not here to take anything from you, I’m just here. Happy Mother’s Day.

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1 Comment

  1. Naomi

    Dear Friend, I happen to know that there are many people who love and respect you, me being one of them. You are a wonderful Mom, and I would be pleased beyond reason to call you my daughter. (if you were.) Unfortunately, we do NOT get to choose our relatives. Thank you for the way in which you are living out your life, serving God, being a wife and mother in the best way you know how. I love you my friend!

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