I love my mother but Mother’s Day is a complicated holiday for me. I have so many feelings about her and us and us back then and us right now….We didn’t always have the best relationship. I don’t think we were ever close when I was a kid, not since the day I was born, and as an adult, even though things are better, I can’t forget the way that made me feel growing up.
I moved out/was kicked out just after my 17th birthday. Admittedly I had been a pretty (read:very) bad teenager but I don’t think that was entirely my fault. I was young and I had grown up in a broken and chaotic environment and I didn’t know how to cope with any of it. I was fucked up.
My mother didn’t know how to deal with a daughter who just wouldn’t do as she was told. Well, not beyond hitting me and that eventually stopped working. So she thought it best that since I didn’t want to be there and I imagine she no longer wanted me there, that I ought to go. I was shocked but I agreed and I packed up whatever I could carry and I left.
Looking back now I’m not sure how I felt about it. I want to say I missed my mother but it’s not like we ever got along anyway. It’s not like I was missing out on her hugs and motherly advice. To be honest moving out only meant she couldn’t yell at me anymore. I was lost without my mother but I had never really had her in the first place. Not that I can remember anyway.
It wasn’t until a couple of years after moving out that I began to feel real anger at my mother. Before that I had just been sad. Sad that I couldn’t be the daughter she wanted and sad the I had messed things up so much. I thought my mother hated me and I assumed she regretted ever giving birth to me. I mean, what else could explain the lack of hugs and “I love yous”? Why didn’t my mom ask me about myself? Why didn’t she do fun things with me? Why did she yell at me so much?
She must have hated me….
After moving out I lived with two cousins and their mother, my aunt. She wasn’t the best example of a mother either but she was genuinely interested in how I was doing and where my life was headed. Maybe my own mother had been too but she hadn’t let me know in a nice way at all. She only seemed concerned with me after I had already made the wrong choices.
A little after I moved out my mother moved to Missouri with my step-dad and my siblings. That is when I got mad. She hadn’t really been there for me but now she was leaving the state? Now I was really on my own. Now I started to think about how alone I had felt my whole life. Now I thought about what a mother is supposed to be. Now I thought about how the actions of the adults in my life had made me who I was and I had been the one to receive the punishment. Now I thought about my mother’s role in my current situation.
My heart became hard and I figured if my family didn’t want me I didn’t want them, and I set out to make my own family. My cousins became like sisters to me and I had met my lovely girlfriend and I felt like that was all I needed.
Me and my mother still talked every once in awhile, and slowly, without me really noticing, something changed. She visited me here and I went to visit her there and then she moved back and she wanted to see me. I don’t know how or why but while my feelings about her hadn’t changed we acted like none of it had ever happened. I was willing to pretend, I was happy to be a part of the family again….or maybe for the first time.
One day, me and my sister were joking about our rough upbringing in front of our mother and she loudly blurted out that she was sorry. She said she did her best but that she didn’t have a clue how to raise us. She said she was sorry. In that moment I forgave my mother. I don’t excuse what happened to me but it happened and there wasn’t much that could have been done. Most of the events of my childhood were effects from causes that occurred before my birth. I don’t think my parents ever had a chance.
I love my mother and I forgive her for not being the loving mother I so desperately needed, the mother she didn’t know how to be. Today we are close. We talk at least once a week and many times more often than that. We laugh together and I think she might even be proud of the woman I have become. That has meant a lot to me, but there will always be that little part of me, that girl-child Lisa, who wishes things could have been different, who wishes her mother had shown her love.
So this mother’s day I want to thank my mother. I thank her for keeping me alive and I thank her for teaching me that people aren’t perfect, not even mothers. I also want to thank her for not denying the fact that she made mistakes as a mother, that goes long way in both my ability to forgive and to heal. And I want to thank her for being here for me now. Despite our past I am happy to have her in my life now and I hope that our relationship will continue to grow.
Despite our past, I do love my mother.
I want to say very quickly that these are my views and feelings of my past from my own perspective and not intended to hurt anyone. I love my family very much and only want to be honest about my experience.
The image is of me and my mother when I was a baby.