Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gotta Give It To Yer Mama

Sooooo... it's Mother's Day. This isn't a day that I acknowledge much, especially in terms of recognizing my own mother. It is nice that my girls make me little cards and small gifts, but that's all that really happens around here (husband "forgets" and I have to practically dial his mother's number so he'll talk to her).

I didn't have a good mother. Under very, very different life circumstances, I very well could have had a good mother. But alas, the circumstances were what they were and that's how the cookie crumbled for me. She was a woman who if given the right life would have not only been a happier woman herself, but would have produced happier daughters.

My sisters are in denial about who our mother really was and that has caused a deep rift between us that I don't see the solution to any time soon. I am not in denial about her and in fact am quite resentful of the childhood I had to endure because of her poor choices and disregard for me. The only thing that I learned from my mother is what not to be.

Now that fill the shoes of a mother for two little girls, I can't say that I appreciate my mom, but I know that I've been able to be what she wasn't for me. I care. I listen. I love. I make sure that all the little things that need to be done and taken care of are. I don't accept the laziness and lack of concern she had for me and I am proud that I am able to give those things effortlessly to my two girls. No, I'm not perfect. Far from it. My girls will tell you that, too. But what I do is leaps and bounds more than what my mother did for me.

So, I guess some of the important lessons in life are from examples that taught us in ways that weren't pleasant. I don't know if I buy the whole concept that we choose our parents/life, but I do believe that we have the choice to either learn from our parents - regardless of whether our parents were good or bad to us, or we can mindlessly repeat the things that we hated and have our children go through the same resentments.

I see myself doing a few little things that were OK that my mom did with my girls. The way I prepare their baths is similar to how she did mine, my voice sounds like hers, I really look like her more and more every year. Luckily for me, I don't hate her. I have every reason to, but I don't. I am neutral about her. She is a fading memory, and for that I am grateful.

My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, was and is the mother I never had. Even though we've never lived near one another, I've always felt close to her. As the years have gone on and I've been able to intellectualize her more, I realize that she wasn't all I had cracked her up to be, either. But she was like a mother figure to me, and for that I am grateful.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all the good moms out there today. You deserve all the little hugs and kisses and letters you get today. To all the bad moms, may you reflect today and resolve to be better to your precious children. They won't be children forever, and they won't forget what you were. It's up to you how your future with them plays out.

And so, in conclusion, my life is very good. I never want to go back to that fear and darkness, ever again. And I don't have to. Like I said, each year that passes makes that whole time nothing more than a blurry and fading memory. I am so grateful for that.

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