|Mom and I with my son and his children.|
It's obvious we've never been close, Mom and I. There are no warm fuzzy memories that I can pull up. There are pleasant ones, but none that are glowing with maternal love. There were perfunctory kisses good night until I turned 12 or so, but I don't have one single memory of being cuddled, petted or doted upon. You know, those moments when as a mom you look at your child and are so overwhelmed with love for them that you just have to touch them and tell them you love them.
In Mom's defense, I don't think she got that as a child, either. The experience she and her sisters had with my grandmother seems to be much different than the one I had. Nana positively showered me with all the cuddles and love I could stand. There was also something much larger in play....
Mom was in college in 1963. A small state liberal arts school in a small, rural, conservative, all-white town, which was the same kind of town Mom came from. She did what was unacceptable for that time and place. She got pregnant. Marrying my father was apparently not an option because at the age of 48, I still don't know anything about him, not even his name. Mom has never said anything about him and I've never asked even though I'd like to know. Why? I don't ask because I've assumed his absence means he rejected me before I was born. Mom planned to give me up for adoption, but her parents kept her at home and by that I mean she wasn't allowed out of the house except to go to medical appointments. It was too shameful a thing to flaunt in public. Once I was born, my grandparents took care of me so my mom could finish school. I lived with them until I was 3, when my mom married and my dad adopted me.
All that explains why Mom and I have never had a close mother-daughter bond, but while I understand it, it still stinks. I don't want the story to end here with me sounding like a whiny child. I want to find good things she taught me. I won't lie, it took a lot of thinking and some of it creative, but I did come up with some positives.
- Mom was a librarian. From her I got my love of books and reading. I read adult novels by the time I was 11. The one thing you can find in literally every room in my house is books.
- Without all that motherly doting, I was left to my own devices a lot of the time. I don't mean I was allowed to run wild. There were rules and my basic needs were met, but we didn't really do anything together. I learned to do a lot for myself and how to keep myself occupied and amused. So, I say she taught me independence.
- She taught me responsibility. I will do my best to always do the "right" thing even if it's the last thing I want to do....a concept that seems to be beyond most people these days.
- Maybe the most important thing Mom taught me was the kind of mother I didn't want to be. I tried to do the opposite of what she would have done when I raised my kids. How's that working out? The jury is still out. During the growing up years, I was close to my kids and had great relationships with them. These days I'm the one who lives nextdoor to my mother, would never abandon her, and keep my mouth shut even when I dislike what she is saying. My children, on the other hand, either live away and have their own families (and think nothing of cutting me out of their lives for every little thing they disagree with or assume they know about me) or are planning to move far away as soon as they can.
*This is a blog hop from Generation Fabulous: The Voices of Midlife