This is my mom's birthday

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm feeling very pensive and somewhat sad. She has been dead a decade now. Aggressive skin cancer, not much could had been done. And she certainly didn't go to doctor early. We had complex relationship. She was gfgish on her own right. Eternal flower child, passionate and dedicated communist and feminist - or maybe not. Intelligent and intellectual but often chose to close her eyes from truth, if she didn't like it. (I mean, at one point she managed to live almost a year at East Germany and not notice it wasn't a paradise or in it's way to become one. Or at least she didn't admit noticing. Then again, she didn't want to take me (I was maybe seven at the time) with her nor wanted me to visit. When I visited, we spent that week in Western German.) Rebelling against the values of her parents and their community and heritage seemed to be a vocal point of her life. She also fought a lot with them and wasn't talking to them often - and left me to them any time she decided to spend next month or half a year or whatever in other side of the world without second thought.

    She despised academia, traditional sophistication and schooling - and had PhD and published papers and wrote books that are still reading material in some colleges and she strongly felt I sold myself short, when I after my Masters left Uni and made career choices that made it possible to be home a lot. She was extremely passionate about religious freedom - and flipped when I wanted to take a baptism and become a member of Church in my teens. As I said she was passionate feminist, who considered marriage to be a patriarchate scam (and married five times and let one of those husbands brutally abuse her and even me. And some others of her men (there were more than just husbands) also treated her poorly and she took that), strongly believed women should be able to express their femininity as they wish, but of course choosing to put being a mom (and wife) to first wasn't okay for her. Especially when it came to me. And how she hated my 'quest for white picket fence.'

    I was a great disappointment for her. I was supposed to be one of those 'new people.' Those who have gotten Summerhillian upbringing, thought for themselves (though she didn't like when I did think on my own and differently from her.) My lack of true artistic talents was almost as big of the blow to her than to my dad (who is an artist and who apparently hoped some kind of mini-him out of me) and she hated that my talents seemed to lie in math and science, like her own, which she also hated. She laughed on what she called 'bourgeois upbringing' and make sure I did got all the skills required. And went to those schools she despised.

    I often was an adult in our small family. Had to take care of her and everyday things that were beneath her or which she didn't want to waste her time to. I for example was ten, when I negotiated a contract with her newest ex-husband about splitting furniture and other stuff. She wanted to take high road and leave without anything (at the time she wasn't working and we wouldn't had had absolutely anything, if she would had done that.) For her I was always small-minded nitpicker. When I really became small-minded nitpicker after easy child was born, we weren't able to really talk in two years.

    She did love me though.

    She was such a complex woman. She could frustrate me to no end, but I did love her too. I still have hard time seeing myself on her, well, other than that we look the same a lot.

    Today I have been looking over some of her papers, books she had written comments to paragraphs, some photos, listening records she left me and remembering her. I miss her so much. And thinking of her makes me second guess my choices. I haven't really achieved a lot. I have nice job that has a purpose and meaning, but it isn't anything special and not something I would had put my all in. I have my kids, but after putting all that effort into them, I'm not sure if I can declare them a success. easy child is, but he would be with much less effort. And difficult child, well, maybe he would be worse to wear without all that, but if he will be able to make something out of his life, it will be all on him. I enjoy being their mother, but is that a lot for a life work? Or supporting husband's career? It's not like he would be doing something, that would make a difference to the world. And mom would probably get a brain bleed from a thought I even consider supporting my husband's career as an achievement.

    Sorry for a long post, just feeling pensive today.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  2. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Suzir, I'm with you in spirit; today would have been my Mom's birthday .. .. .. she's been gone 13 years.

    Our relationship was not complex; but I understand how things that precede dates like this can influence how you feel today
     
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I can not explain why...and I've spend a few minutes thinking about why, as I fix dinner and take computer breaks to ease my tensions....but I am "almost" teary reading your post. It may be because your Mom likely was about my age and likely came from the same socio-economic expectations? Perhaps it is because I truly "knew" in my fifties that I could have (and perhaps should have) made better choices for my future. I'm not sure. Half of me feels like your Mom and the other half this afternoon feels like you. Somehow I can't help but think that the Serenity Prayer is the most important equalizer regardless of age or circumstances. I am sending caring hugs your way. DDD
     
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Aw SuZ, what an interesting post and thought provoking mother/daughter connections you bring up...........it's such a complicated relationship, mothers and daughters, I can understand what you are saying. I imagine your mother was in the middle of generations too, likely confusing to even her what her gender role was. Geez, I grew up in the 60's with all the radical movements and my generation also has gender confusions. It makes sense that she would act in ways that seemed contradictory and ambivalent. It also makes sense that you would want the picket fence, wanting that stability you didn't have with her.

    We certainly are the products of our upbringing.........my mother was a traditional stay at home mom, the absolute last thing I ever wanted when I was young, so my difficult child daughter was looking for picket fences (when she was healthier) and my granddaughter seems like a freedom fighter like I was. Funny how that happens, skipping generations. All we seem to want is for our parents to really know us, accept us, love us unconditionally..........and yet they have their expectations based out of their own inadequacies and unfulfilled desires............and often those weigh heavy on us as kids............and then we turn around and many of us do the same thing to our own kids...............weird. As I get older it's easier for me to see my mother for the flawed human being she is, which hurt me tremendously, and yet, she did the best she could with what she had. Coming to grips with all of that has taken some therapy!!

    I remember my first therapist telling me that the task of therapy is to separate from our parents. I had no idea then (at age 23) that it was a lifelong experience..............you wrote beautifully about all the various components of your relationship with your mother, complicated, deep, trying, empowering (thinking of a 10 year old negotiating) disappointing, hurtful, tender, all of it.............and it helped mold you into who you are, a caring, very bright, compassionate, funny, kind, thoughtful, interesting woman.

    I personally agree with Oprah when she says that parenting is the hardest job on the planet. You chose that path and 2 boys will grow up to be men who feel safe in a woman's arms...... You made terrific choices with your life, they fit who you are..........your mother made her choices.................what's important is that she loved you and instilled in you the courage to be who you are, even if that meant "disappointing" her.

    I can look back at my crazy life with my family and now that much of the pain of it is in the past, I can see that it all made me exactly who I turned out to be, I learned a lot from the adversity, I gained strength from so many weighty expectations..........your mom gave you the gifts you required to shape the life you chose............interesting that you wrote in your bio that your difficult child is "ill suited to picket fences"......like your mother............perhaps your grand baby will be on the quest for the picket fence..............sending you great big MOM hugs............
     
  5. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Sending hugs.
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sending more hugs.
     
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Suzir and CTmom05.
    Suzir, your mom sounds like a cross between Barack Obama's mother, and the mom of Jeanette Walls, who wrote The Glass Castle.
     
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thanks all!

    There are times when I think I never really knew my mom much. She was so complex and contradictory. It was difficult to know, what she really thought or believed in her heart and what she said to give impression she wanted to or to gain attention. You have to understand that she was really very smart. And she was able to see things like they were, when she wanted to. And she often encouraged me to do so, even if she then vocally disagreed with what I saw.

    You have to understand that due historical reasons baby boomers' rebellion was very strong here and especially kids from upper middle class background went extremely socialist or communist. It was almost the norm at the time. Even our richest, epitome of greediness people from that generation used to be blazing communists once. My mom didn't tone it down as quickly as most, but I guess that was her gfgness, immaturity and wanting to irritate her parents. My granddad was very intensive and strong personality. I absolutely adored him and he was great for me, but while there was lots of love also between him and my mom, I bet he was very different dad to her than grandpa to me. And family life of him and my grandma was not without turbulence so I can understand my mom's need to rebel.

    But there were things I did find very difficult to forgive her and some have even shown to me even worse lately when reading PE here. My mom certainly did some extremely dirty tricks. I was really angry for her for many things from my childhood when easy child was young. At that time I was trying to be a perfect mom and it was very clear to me where she had fallen short. Later I learned to forgive her and also myself for not being that perfect mom. And there were lots of things she did well for me. One thing I was very mad about her was, that she made me worry so much as a child. It wasn't enough that she made me be scared of nuclear war before I was even out of pre-K, worry for world hunger etc. but she also made me worry about everyday adult things, even things she didn't worry. Not only did I have to remind and beg her to pay bills instead of using money for partying or something, but she let me have a real, devastating worry about our survival. I really was afraid we could end up homeless and hungry. And all the time she knew, that even then our social benefits would have given us some basic needs and even more so, her parents and even some of her ex-husbands were willing to help. As long as she had me, her parents were not going to let us be homeless or hungry. And she had skills that made it easy to make enough money for us to survive. She knew that if she decided to travel or party instead of buying food and us to eat oatmeal for two weeks, it was not the end of the world and if she wanted, she could come up with a little bit of money. I was the one, who was terrified and counting how many oatmeal portions was left in the packet and worrying we would not have anything when it run out.

    And there were things I have truly realised the dirtiness only now reading this forum and when my own kids start to be out from home. For example when we were out of money and she was too proud (or not in talking terms) to ask from her parents, she made me to call or even visit (alone) and tell, that I haven't eaten anything but oatmeal for a week and I was hungry. Or that I didn't have a winter jacket or boots and was cold. The worry and anger my grandparents had to feel over that.

    My mom was very intense person in every way. And very charming. Beautiful and smart. Growing up next to her always made me feel very ordinary and gray. She was always getting all the attention. But she was also able to make my life magic at times. When I was very sall, life felt like a great adventure. Later I became a constant worrywart and wasn't able to enjoy all that.

    But even if she at times manipulated me and used me, she also genuinely cared about me, even when I wasn't useful any more. Even when I was middle of my insufferable perfect mom-routine after easy child's birth. She may have hated what I had become, she may have laughed at me, she may have been frustrated, but she still was there watching me, ultimately at my side whatever happened and trying to get me back to my senses. After that somewhat happened - and after I was able to forgive her, we had a couple short years before her cancer and death. I'm very sorry that time was so short. I would still need her so much at times.

    She was difficult but on her own way very remarkable woman and left a mark to many people who knew her. She was 'a love of their life' to at least three of her men, my dad included (and that was so doomed from the beginning, if my mom was a difficult child, my dad is worse) but I don't know if any of them ever got bigger on her eyes than her dad. And if you would have asked love of her life, that would had been her ideology, or in some of her weak moments, me.

    EDIT: And when I said she would have had her ways to come up with money, I don't even mean anything shady. She had a friend, who was always short of translators. Not interesting or glamorous work, usually manuals etc. but my mom was able to translate from several languages to two languages and any time she wanted to make some extra money, all she had to do, was ask some work. A friend even paid half in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, I think your worth and talent transcend your mothers (and you are two different people anyway). You are an intelligent woman who chose to be a mother, like I did. That gave you and me more time with our kids in their formative years. You helped your husband move on. I'm sure he values your help. You do not have to have some high power job to be worthwhile. In fact, many parents who are too career-oriented never get to know their kids or enjoy the wonders of family life. I am not sorry I chose to mostly be a stay at home mom. Nor should you be.

    Your mother sounds like perhaps an intellectual snob (and I personally don't care for snobs of any type). Also, she WAS manipulative when it suited her, which you are not. One thing that made me laugh, that you may not appreciate because of where you live, but it is very rare in the US for anyone to either be one or to admit to having communist leanings. It is just SOOOOOOOOOOO not America...lol. But I just brought that up for my own humor. It really doesn't mean anything, unless she felt she was having enlightened, "better" philosophies than other people have.

    All in all, I am so sorry that you miss your mother. Most people here do, even with complex relationships. Many of us are determined NOT to make our relationships with OUR children so very complex. You seem like you have a wonderful family dynamic...not perfect...but I am still in awe of your husband and how he took your difficult child, even under the circumstances, and loves him as his own son. That is rare and precious. And you seem to have a good relationship with him, aside from the fact that he is a man with man issues...lol.

    I have always thought you were doing a fabulous job with your family and it seems that THIS was your goal in life and you are doing a very successful job of it. Your husband and kids adore you and your difficult child will tell you his deepest, darkest secrets, which is not the case with many difficult children, especially male ones.

    Mourn your mother. You are entitled to reflect, feel sad, and even nurture some self=pity and regrets. But do not for a moment think that, if you believe loved ones keep an eye on us, that she is not proud of you and smiling. If you don't believe that, *I* do and I think she is...or would be, if she could.

    Maybe put some flowers on her grave, have a private talk with her, and then remember that you did the best you could to love her. I had a terrible relationship with my mother, but I believed we solved in the next life (yes, you can call the men with white jackets, but I truly believe we spoke and resolved many issues). We all have our own ways to come to peace with our parents.

    I hope you wake up happier tomorrow and remember what an awesome woman you are I know many of us think you are one. That counts, right? :) (((Huggs)))
     
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