Monday, August 28, 2017

I Feel For You

Yesterday was my birthday.  Wow!  I can't get over all the wonderful wishes I received.  Social media greetings, text messages, phone calls, cards in the mail, even emails.  My sister, badly broken and in a hospital bed, found the energy to wish me a happy birthday.  My niece, still recovering, sang "Happy Birthday to You" from her hospital room.  My dad sent a text AND a card.  My pastor mentioned it during announcements in church.  Heck, even my car insurance company and dentist sent me greetings.  Wanna know who didn't wish me a Happy Birthday?  My mother.

While I am not surprised, and I certainly didn't expect acknowledgment from her, I admit it hurt.  I spent nearly an hour with her yesterday.  On my birthday, I drove her to the grocery store, pushed the cart around the store and carried her groceries into her home.  No mention of my birthday.  She sent me two text messages.  NOTHING.  She couldn't be burdened to remember that it was an important day for me.  My birthday means nothing to her.

The worst thing I ever did to my mother was be born.  I know that now.  I was very angry with her for lying to my dad and me for 37 years.  But, you know what?  Knowing her secret explains so much of the pain she put me through as a child.  When she had my sister, Cecil Roberts "played house" with her.  He visited Amanda.  Mother would hand him Baby Amanda and she would refer to him as "Daddy."  She thought she had a family and some security.

Within a couple months, she was pregnant again.  With me.  And Cecil split.  I was born a constant reminder of another person who left her.  Luckily, she found some other sucker to take care of Cecil's responsibilities and she put him through 20+ years of complete Hell.  (And honestly, it's the best thing that could ever have happened for my sister and me.)

When I was a child, I knew my mother was different from everyone else's mom.  She was so mean.  I hated her for the things she did to me.  My grandmother would give excuses.  "Your mother is sick.  She isn't well.  She can't help it."  As true as that may have been, it did nothing to ease the hurt I felt.  I never received a single apology from her for anything she ever did to me... And I never will.

Now that I'm older, I understand her illness.  I get it.  She's fucking crazy.  Certifiable wack-a-doo.  In a sick way, I have peace knowing there was absolutely nothing I did to make her treat me the way she did and nothing I could have done to have made her better.  But it also gives me great sadness.

I am a mother, too.  I felt those wonderful babies growing inside me.  I counted kicks.  I held them and smelled their new baby smells.  I gave the best care I could to completely helpless, tiny people.  I suffered through twins with colic.  And I loved them with every ounce of my being.

I am sad for my mother.  She did those care-taking essentials for me.  She had similar experiences.  And yet she was not capable of giving one bit of herself in the process.  She cannot love another person.  She calls it love, but it's really "NEED."  She needs everything and has nothing to give.  I am sad for her;  sad that she is unable to know the unreciprocated love that a mother gives a baby, the boundless devotion a mother feels for a child, or the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter.  What breaks my heart the most for her is she doesn't want to get better.  She seems to find comfort in being ill.

I can't control her.  I can't change her.  I can't fix her.  But, I can control how I react to her.  I am done feeling hurt by someone who cannot help the things she does and is unwilling to do what it takes to get better.  I choose to feel nothing.

So, Mother, if you read this, just know I understand you're not made the way I am.  I don't need you to love me.  I love me.  I don't need you to remember I'm important.  I'm fucking important.  I don't need a mother to validate me.  I clawed myself out of the hole you left me in and made a pretty good life for my family.  I'm doing really well.  Things are the way they should be.  It is what it is.  Whatever.