Sunday, May 11, 2014

Not your average Mothers' Day post.

My dad once told us that he had a choice between two women.
A blonde, gentle, sweet engineer; and a fiery, opinionated, dark-haired
beauty.  He chose the dark-haired beauty, and we were born from that.
Although I often lament how much happier my dad would have been
if he had chosen the engineer.
I’m spending mothers’ day deliberately ignoring my mother. For no other reason than to make a point. And as petty as that sounds, I stand by it. I got into a fray with her on Friday. At a Mothers’ Day dinner held at her retirement facility. She was, without a sugar coating it; a cantankerous old bag. The first thing she did was to invite two people she was friends with to sit at her table. Which is fine. But then, she proceeded to sit down with them, and to leave me and Alex alone on the other side, to sit in silence. My mother, I can say with confidence, never apologizes for anything. I sat and stewed there for about twenty minutes, my mandibles rippling and my temper growing shorter and shorter as she rambled on in Spanish with these ladies, and paying 0% attention to the fact that her daughter was there to celebrate mother’s/mothers’ day with her. So finally, I made a little scene, and called to her over the table that I was going to leave, since there was no point for me to be there if I was sitting by myself. She moved over, and acted as if nothing had happened. No sorry, nothing. I stare over the first flower basket my estranged pandering brother has ever sent my mother at her. I really just want to slap that look off her face. I hate who I am when I am around her.

It took me a while to shed my irritation and to warm up to her again. Towards the end of the dinner, she starts bitching really hatefully about a staff member there (the same person she had been bitching about to the two south American ladies she had been sitting with). I told her to stop being hateful, which she was being, and the argument escalated until she got up, gathered her things and walked away. She always runs away when I start doling out the truth. I can’t let it go. Dan is right. I let her have it, and I don’t let up. Whether that’s right or that’s wrong, it is what it is. I am a reflection of her. And these past few years, I have not held back in what I say to her. And she doesn't like it. She has an answer for EVERYTHING. She looks at every relationship like a power struggle and she has to come out on top, or she shuts down. I do not relent, I probably should, but I don’t. I hammer her with all of the things she hates to remember. How she treated us, how she treated our brother, how she treated my father. She acts like she is some sort of martyred, wounded saint, and in truth, she was and still is a horrendously selfish, narcissistic old hag who has done many horrible things in her life, and who now cannot cope with the consequences of those decisions—those being that nobody can barely stand her in the family, except me, and she takes me entirely for granted and treats me like shit.

So I left her there. Last words fell on hardened, unlistening ears. I’m just so tired of it. I don’t know why I feel this incurable, irrational, completely crippling sense of obligation to someone that most obviously has Borderline Personality Disorder. My sisters, they don’t care. I got home, visibly angry, stressed out and worked up, and spooled up Facebook, and one sister is typing how happy she is, grooming her new horse, and the other is posting colourful pictures from an art fair she carelessly attends. And I fucking lost it. I bent over on my keyboard and wept myself dry. My sisters can sleep at night pretending the hard things about our family do not exist, exclusively because they are mine to deal with. It is my lot an it is at my expense that they are spared anything to do with my mother or my brother. When I do pull them in, it is like pulling teeth. They hem and haw and kick and squirm just to devote an iota of attention to it. It’s such a bother. They pay themselves for every little thing they do for my mother. But here I am, face to face with her nastiness week after week, and I don’t get paid unless being taken for granted is a form of monetary compensation.

So I decided that my mom needs to know how little I tolerate being treated badly. And that is by ignoring her on mothers’ day. And leaving her to stew for a few weeks. Maybe even a month or two. She will miss Alex before then. I’m awful, keeping him from her, but he doesn’t need to be exposed to her shit too. I’m sure my sisters will call her today and she will be so tickled with that, and all the viscous hatred and anger at them for never calling every day for months and months before that will just vanish away like the mist, and she will tell them how horrendous I am, and that she is bullied so terribly by me. I just don’t care. The game she plays to turn us each against the other is a sham. All she is doing is pushing away the only daughter that really gives even the smallest crap about her. She can hold onto the empty gestures by the other siblings who are happy to leave her out of sight and out of mind.

So here I am, in my hour and a half of me-time. Drinking a cup of tea, and getting ready to have an uninterrupted shower (a big deal for me these days) before we go out and celebrate mothers’ day for all the other moms in my husband’s family. It’s so quiet and peaceful. I’ve vented my spleen onto the computer, and all is well on this brief quiet Sunday moment

I will leave you with a lovely mother-memory to share on this mother’s day:

Bleary eyed, slurring, babbling sentences of accusation. "You are never good enough." Reeking of Johnny Walker Red, flirting with anything that breathes. Whorls of smoke curling from her flared nostrils, cigarette pinched between her fingers, she blows the rest into my face. “Drive me home, Stephanie. It’s the least you can do for all that I’ve sah-kree-fah-yist for you.”

Just remember moms of young kids. Take care of how your children remember you. I will do my damndest never to give Alex those kinds of memories.

2 comments:

Susan Smith said...

I appreciate your honesty here. Whole heartedly. There is so much I could say about my childhood as well. I wish I could say it would get better but as my mum grows older, well, she is who she is.

Anonymous said...

Like your honesty. My daughter was talking the other day about when she grows up and is a mom. I told her she's going to be a great mom, and she asked me how I know, and I told her it's because she's not selfish at all. These moms who choose to not put their children's needs before their own...well, they leave more destruction than they realize.

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