‘Twas horrible to think
that she suffered
an unspeakable childhood.
Every day they reopened
the contentions –
that she could not
Mischief and dread
became more likely
than right and wrong –
causing heads to hit
hard against circumstances
almost as good
as she once was.
(Blackout poetry created from a page of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens)
Mother’s Day always creates such a barrage of mixed emotions for me. There was a lot of trauma, abuse, mental illness, and foolish decisions that marked my childhood. My mother was far from a perfect parent. Luckily, she does admit to that and seems to be really trying to be a better person now, but being around her always triggers so many memories, thoughts, and feelings – some good, some bad, some funny, and some tragic.
I think part of the issue is that my brain has a tough time seeing how she acts towards me now and reconciling it with memories of how my sister and I were treated while growing up. I do believe in forgiveness (within reason), and I do love my mother, but I doubt there will ever be a day in her company that doesn’t create confusion for me internally.
I write this post today to recognize those of us who struggle on Mother’s Day to even know how to feel…
It is strange how negative words can stay with us for a lifetime and hurt long after they are spoken. Today, I was reminded of a conversation I had way back in middle school. My friends and I were having a conversation about birth order statistics and how the oldest is often the smartest and most responsible in the family – which apparently was the case in all their families.
I mentioned how that hadn’t really happened in my family as I was the youngest and yet I was the one in the gifted program, the one who got straight A’s, and the one who was least likely to break the rules. My sister was very smart in her own ways, but not overly academic or intellectual.
One of my friends (or more likely a frenemy) replied, “Well, maybe your sister is the pretty one then.”
Before I could digest this insult or respond, one of my other friends chimed in assuring the group that my sister was no looker either, which made everyone laugh. I didn’t let on that I felt anything, but inside I was crushed. I felt ugly and I also felt bad that my friends had insulted and made fun of my sister.
To this day, remembering this conversation makes me feel ugly, plain, and rejected. I wish my friends had been more careful with their words.
Today my husband and I went to go see one of his students dance in a special recital:
Seeing all the cute little kids dressed up in their costumes and dancing made me really miss having kids around. I used to be almost constantly surrounded by kids between foster parenting, volunteering with the kids at our old church, and working in the school system as a teacher’s assistant/aide. My favorite age of kids to work with were always the younger ones, 3-4 years old to around 6 or 7, although I bonded well with kids of almost any age.
At this point, I don’t know if my physical/mental health will ever consistently improve to the point that I can do those things again, but I miss them. I am thankful for the experiences and memories though.
Check out the cute stuff my mom sent to me for an Easter care package! She did really good this year! It definitely helped cheer me up since I had been feeling pretty lousy lately between my depression and my chronic health issues.
Been super unmotivated and blah today. I wanted to write a post but didn’t want anything that would take too much brain power lol, so decided to list the things I DID manage to get done today as a way to give myself a little pat on the back for even trying!
Stuff I Got Done Today:
- Writing this post (still in process)
- Put dishes up and cleaned kitchen (it desperately needed it)
- Got my husband to change the trash
- Listed several new artworks on my Ebay for sale
- Called my mom back (had to leave a message, but that is actually preferred in the mood I’m in lol)
- Had a tuna sandwich and the last Reese’s Pieces cookie for lunch
- Gave all my kitties some love
- Read a picture book about Mary Shelley (the creator of Frankenstein)
- Showered and all that other hygienic stuff
- Watched some Disney Channel
- Watered my plants that are still alive after a week! World record for me probably!
I have to be careful how I word this post as there is a slight (but unlikely) chance the person I am talking about might read it. However, it has been weighing heavily on my mind so I wanted to talk about it.
There was a person in my personal life I was really close to for several years. I cared about them deeply and loved them like family. They were much younger than myself, so I tried to set a good example for them and be a sort of big sister to them. We spent much of our time together, partly out of necessity at the time and partly because I genuinely enjoyed their company.
Now they are all grown up and I am still in loose contact with them and seeing how they have turned out has kind of broken my heart. They have embraced some radical ideologies that are rude, ignorant, and sometimes bordering on mean or even cruel. I know I only had a real influence on them for a few years, but it still makes me feel like somehow I failed them that they have turned from such a thoughtful, sensitive, caring young person to a cold, bitter, angry, and sometimes hateful adult.
I still love them and know that goodness I knew inside of them must be there somewhere. I know they have had a rough life and many hurtful experiences, just as I had growing up. I wonder if I am being too hard on them. I know sometimes the other side goes way too far with political correctness, perhaps it is just a reactionary thing? Maybe they are just being young and foolish, like we all once were? I don’t know, but it still hurts my heart.
Yesterday my husband and I traveled over to Indiana to meet my mom and her husband for Christmas dinner. We all decided to meet at a truckstop that is about halfway between us, so that neither of us would have to cook, clean up, or drive too far:
I genuinely had a good time and am glad I’ve been able to spend more time with them recently. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, may remember that there has been a lot of water under the bridge between my mother and myself over things that happened when I was growing up. She made some huge mistakes, and as is often the case, my sister and I had to pay for many of those choices just as much as she did…maybe more in some cases.
She genuinely seems to be regretful and is trying to make things better between us, so although I am always going to be cautious and protective of myself, it feels good to be able to embrace forgiveness for my own peace of mind and well-being. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what we went through was ok, or that the damage wasn’t done, but it does mean that it doesn’t have control of my life, my mind, or my heart anymore. I can move on.
I am somewhat a believer in the saying “When we know better, we do better”. Some of us take a long, long time to “know better”, but healing and wisdom are ours once we finally do face the truth.