Friday, November 23, 2007

Daughters and Mothers

After 14 years of marriage, you'd think I'd have learned to listen to The Man. He's told me over, and over, and over that trying to be rational and reasonable with my mother just doesn't work.

I've gotten better about remembering this, but my lapses still happen.

I love my mother.

We've always had a love/hate relationship. And I mean always. She was very young when she married and young when she had me. My parents were 18 and 21 when they married. Mom was 21 when I was born. No, that's not SUPER young, but back in they day, it was. Many of their friends were off fighting in Viet Nam. Some were busy being hippies. A few were going to college. But my mom moved out of her parents house, out of town into my dad's apartment and the rest is history. Very June Cleaver.

So my mom likes to say that she and I grew up together. Which is fine, and we did. I was a daddy's girl through and through. Tomboy-rough and tumble. I didn't like Barbies or dolls or dresses. My mom loves clothes and loves to shop. She would try to put me in a dress and I'd be climbing a tree showing the neighbors my skivvies. I think it drove her crazy. My dad loved it.

And I was an only child till I was 9. Then 3 more siblings came along. I liked playing with the real babies and learned to do all the diapering, feeding, dressing, etc....

My parent's marriage (like any marriage) was rocky for a while and they would both ask me grown up questions about stuff that was going on. I didn't like that. I was a kid. I was scared when my mom would ask me if she should divorce my dad.I didn't want my dad to be gone. What would we do?

All of my siblings have said at one point or another that I raised them. I was the one who read to them and played games with them. I taught my sisters how to use make up. I told my brother that he should be nice to all the girls. My mom was suffering from undiagnosed depression. She doesn't see it that way, but that's what it was. She was just emotionally unavailable. Then she started working, found a career that she was really good at and she was better.

She doesn't want to hear anything less that glowing about what it was like for us. Sometimes we'll remember a story that casts our childhood in a less than flattering light and she'll say "that didn't happen!"

Now that we're all older, I think my mom sometimes resents the relationship I have with my siblings. She seems offended if she finds out that she might be somehow out of the "loop". If my brother or sisters and I have an each with each other, we deal with it with each other...until mom picks a side. She just can't help it.

I'm tired of fighting with her and arguing with her and never being right. Even about things that directly affect MY family.

Sometimes when we disagree she reduces me to a pile of 12 year old girl who's been hollered at by her mom. I know she did the best she could.

This holiday season I'm just not going to engage in that anymore. This is about making the holidays good for MY own family.

Because I don't want my boys to grow up and write about me in THEIR blogs...or whatever they'll be writing in.

I love you Mom, but you drive me fucking crazy.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I hear where you're coming from. Sometimes it's almost like you are in a weird competition for a family member's affection, but you were never told. It's like an awkward and unfathomable jealousy. And if ever you try to get to the root of the problem, walls are thrown up all over the place and things are far worse than ever before.

My entire teen years and adulthood have been that weird dynamic with my own mom. I love her dearly, but I got to a point that it was healthier for me to avoid her completely.

Every time I tried to tell her I was reduced to a pathetic incoherent sobbing mess. I finally had to write her a note to explain why I would not be around and why I couldn't tell her face-to-face.
After that she decided that she needed to seek counseling.

I am able to report that we had our first somewhat normal Turkey Day ever. We're not okay yet, but we're getting there.

I'm glad to hear that you have decided to make your family happy and attempt to leave the other one alone.