November 9, 2012 at 10:38 am | Posted in NaBloPoMo, Parenting, Stuck with You (aka: Family) | 9 Comments

The whole issue with my mother boiled down to two points for me.

First, I lived through a time when my aunt Judy and my mother did not talk. They had a huge falling out when my grandmother died in fifth grade. When I was in middle school, or maybe early in high school, they mended their relationship after my grandfather arrested – twice – on the table during a routine angioplasty (he had a heart attack and a triple bypass when he was 45, long before I was born). They brought him back, but it was a scary day for everyone. When my grandfather woke up, he told my mom and aunt that he didn’t want to die before he saw them make up.

The only time my aunt spoke harshly to me, in my whole life, was the day after she and my mom fought. I rode my bike to her house, hoping somehow that *I* could fix something by telling her how much I loved her. She told me that the fight was between she and my mother, and that she loved me, but that I needed to go home.

It was awful for us kids in those years, listening to my mother’s anger at her sister, the uncomfortable silence whenever she ran into her in town (because, yes, we all lived in the same town. Whee!).

I don’t want to do that to my father, my siblings, my niece or nephew, or my aunts and uncles. There is nothing to be gained by it, in my opinion. And not fair to any of them.

Over a phone call. Seriously. Not worth it.

Secondly, Lucky talks about his grandparents with such innocence. And love. He doesn’t KNOW that his Gram was a bad mom to me. And restricting his access to his grandparents because I have a beef with the way I was raised doesn’t seem like the right choice to me. He should have the freedom to develop a relationship with his grandparents as organically as he can (not completely, of course, given our proximity issues).

One of my biggest driving influences in my parenting is fostering openmindedness. I want Lucky to grow up understanding that not everyone is like him, and that’s okay.

Which means I have to LIVE it, too.

The fact is this. My mother hurt me – often and deeply – when I was a child. That hurt is still with me today. I have work to do to come to terms with the hurt my mother – and father – inflicted on me, yes. But I have a good therapist, and I think over time I’ll be able to work through it. And so all I can do is accept that she is who she is, and work through my shit on my own.

And yes, my mother DID call me yesterday. And she opened up the conversation with, I am sorry you’ve had to deal with as much as me in the past couple of weeks.

But I expected it, and I asked her questions about her surgery and healing. And I made her feel important, which made her open up more.

And when she mentioned my D&E again, how sorry she was about it, later on in the conversation, I found I really didn’t want to talk to her about it. I gave her the facts, asked her about her reactions to medications (and yes, I think I’ve figured out that my sickness is related to the narcotics – pain meds – not anesthesia. Seems we share that trait.), but didn’t go into detail, only that we aren’t sure what’s next and we might be done with family building.

It felt awkward, for ME, to talk about our issues. I didn’t want to.

When I got off the phone, I realized I can have a relationship with her. Because I don’t really want her to focus on me, or ask about personal things. It’s probably because she hurt me so badly years ago that I don’t want to be vulnerable around her – fearing she’ll hurt me again.

I can have a relationship with her that’s centered around her grandson and her medical issues, I think. And Charlie and I want to travel more with Lucky anyway, so visiting them in Texas shouldn’t be a huge deal, really.

When I got off the phone, I felt relieved.

Finally, maybe I can put the suck of the last few weeks behind me.



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  1. So glad your mother called you! From your account, it really sounds like she’s trying. Or maybe she’s just so used to talking about medical issues, it’s easier for her to talk to you about your medical issues than anything else. Anyway, that is good news.

    Maybe if you do go to Texas to visit them, you just need to plan for some stuff that’ll be fun no matter how things are with you & your mother (sightseeing? things you do with just the 3 of you, no grandparents?), to make the trip easier.

  2. You are an amazing person and Lucky is SO LUCKY to have you. Truly. You are a bigger person than I but I am inspired by you to be a bigger person that I would have thought I could be. Thank you for that.

    I really truly hope things work out between you and your mom and Lucky can have the relationship with her that you want him to have. I hope that with all my heart.

  3. Hey there, I am glad that your mom called even with the self-involved, woe-is-me jockeying intro. And, to accept the limitations of your relationship with her but chose to have a relationship with her FOR your kid is the right thing to do. It sucks. And you will probably get hurt and get in more fights, but it is the right thing for Lucky.This being said, you need an escape valve with your mom and it sounds like you have the kind of relationship with your siblings that will allow you to stay sane. You can reach out to them and talk about the latest in your mom’s self-involved and hurtful antics. I think the big thing as we get older is to accept people for their limitations, understand why they are the way they are, and to try and forge relationships in spite of these flaws. I’m not saying that you have to like it or “get over it” as you will get hurt again and again. But, as long as you can keep it in perspective and it doesn’t negatively affect your mental health, I do think you can figure out a way to make this work. Can you set up barriers in your talks, though, to help you stay “safe?” For example, can you say that it hurts your feelings when she says X about you or doesn’t make an effort to see you or Lucky or your sister’s new son? People can hurt us, but sometimes we let them. Maybe you do this already and it doesn’t help. I have had to fight back to my parents over the years to get them to realize that some of the things they say are judgemental and hurtful and opinions they are allowed to have, but should not express to me.

  4. Steering clear of certain topics will be your saving grace here. It sounds as though you will never have the warm and fuzzy mom and daughter relationship that make us cry in movies…though it sounds as though you never did. I am thinking it would be fruitless to try to discuss with her how and when she hurts you, as I don’t think it would really resonate with her.
    I do think though that you will have to be certain she doesn’t begin to repeat her ‘parenting patterns’ as Lucky gets older. If so, that’s when the momma bear in you can come out and refuse to allow it.

  5. I’m really glad you found a level of peace with things. It’s really hard to do and you’re doing it with a lot of grace.

  6. I’m glad for you that you came to this realization and will be able to move forward peacefully. I have a hard time moving past resentment, but I think acceptance is always easier than just being mad all the time. I struggle with this.

  7. So happy to hear about this development. It’s inspired me to really look at the latest interaction I’ve had with my parents and see if there is a way to get past a similar situation so I can get to a better place with them.

  8. I’m glad that your mother called you, and made an effort to reach out. It’s been interesting trying to figure out how to deal with my mother while she’s been in this house … and under my care. There have been some instances where I’ve had to do things I never thought I would have to … and take a deep breath, making a decision to have a relationship that isn’t about me. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m sending a hug, thinking about how you’ve been navigating the stormy waters of the past few weeks.

  9. Wow! You are my hero. That was very big of you. Therapy paying off, right there.

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