It's My Turn
It's always a great Mother's Day here. Mr. Handsome and the kids make sure of it every year. But this year, I was less than happy, and I even cried. Par for the course for me these past few months. Crying jags for no reason. If I didn't know better, I would think I am either pregnant and full of raging hormones, or an angst-ridden teen. Of course, I am neither. I'm just sad.
Every year, I get a wonderful breakfast, full of fresh fruit, omelette, coffee or tea, and lots of love. The kids make me lovely gifts, Mr. Handsome gets me beautiful flowers, and I love being enveloped in all that love. A lazy day ensues, sometimes doing nothing but reading books and hanging out, most times visiting the Canada Tulip Festival and enjoying the amazing spring breezes and music that greets your ears as you walk. A feast for the senses. We often end up getting fudge at the festival, and we eat it all, out of the little paper bags it comes in. And then we go home, have a wonderful dinner that Mr. Handsome prepares, and we bask in the light that is our family.
We didn't go to the festival this year. It was bloody cold, cold enough for us to pull out our winter coats, and in the end, no one really wanted to leave the warm, cotton comfort of our home. So, we stayed indoors and played on the Wii, and read the newspaper, and stirred the big pot of chili Mr. Handsome had on the stove all day long.
Despite it all, I had many crying jags this Mother's Day, away from my family, hidden in my bedroom. My daughter's harsh tongue started it. And I know my daughter doesn't mean any of it when she lashes out at me and says the nasty things she says, but it still hurts. Bad. Her emotional range is as bad as mine, and probably worse. Being 14 years old is hard stuff.
So is feeling like you've done nothing much with your life. And here I am, at 46 years of age, dangling between working as a writer again, or working at the nearest Tim Horton's. Because, goddammit, enough is enough with being a parasite on this family. Although Mr. Handsome keeps telling me I am anything but. But that is how I feel, and there's no denying it.
I start the swirling whirling downdowndown in my mind, where I go quite often these days, and start feeling all those bad feelings about what a bad mother I am, even though I know I'm not. But when you are told this over and over again, through much of your life, it kind of gets stuck in your craw and rears its ugly head when you least expect it.
Then, my mind went to times with my own mother, who passed away in March. I did not have a "normal" relationship with my mother, and for the most part, it was pretty awful. And as I thought about it, and about how I haven't really been terribly sad about her passing, I got much more melancholy, feeling guilty about my lack of feelings, feeling awful about the finality of death, and wishing it wasn't so, because I wasn't ready for the fact that having a relationship with her will never happen. Ever.
I had thought that I had resolved my feelings over our relationship, and that I was okay with it all. I believed that I had gone through the grieving process ten years ago, because that is when I decided I could no longer have a reasonable relationship with her. It took a long time for me to feel okay about it, and although it wasn't a perfect solution, it was much better this way.
But apparently not. Apparently it was far from resolved. Because when I least expect it, thoughts of my mother pop up, and the feelings well up in my chest, and I feel like I'm going to explode. I have split-second moments of these feelings, and a sudden feeling of utter fear, and then I'm okay again for awhile.
Mr. Handsome's youngest sister called on Sunday. She lives in western Canada, far from family, and she wanted to call and say hi, and wish me a Happy Mother's Day. Very thoughtful. Our hour-long talk finally wound its way around to my mother, and I told her how I was feeling, and how I felt rather helpless about it all.
And she had something very wise to say. Something that made so much sense to me. She told me that I can now make the relationship with my mother into what I want, not what I was forced to have for most of my life. I can now treat my mother with the respect, the dignity, the love I've always had for her, but was never allowed to give her. Because everytime I tried, I was shot down, and reminded that I was nothing but "a piece of dirt", as she so often told me.
But now ... Now I can be in control, and talk to her, and let her know that I am sorry for the life we had together, and how I wish it would have been so different, and that I always loved her, and always will love her, and that I forgave her many years ago for everything, but that she never forgave herself, and didn't know how to love, and that was the crux of the problem.
My arms are now free to hug my mother, and to give her gifts of love, without the fear of knowing that my gifts will be rejected. I don't need my armored wall anymore. Because now it's my turn.