Saturday, May 9, 2015


Flipping through Facebook today, I'm struck by the love and warmth and depth of emotion in the posts about Mother and Her Day.   I don't want to negate that, nor deny my sisters in motherhood their due.   I promise I'm not going to ruin your Mother's Day by complaining about mine.   It's just that for me, it's another in a series of Hallmark Holidays that remind me (as if I need reminding) how much I've failed.  Valentine's Day wants to remind me that I suck at relationships.  Christmas wants to remind me that I suck at family.  And Mother's Day completes the trifecta by reminding me that I suck at being a mom.  

Yeah.  I should probably stay off the internet this weekend.

I see all the things you post about how Mom is your best friend, Mom always supported you, had your back, loved you despite all your mistakes and failings, and I want to weep.   I can't say those things about my mother.  The best I can say is that she loved me in her own limited way, that she did the best she could with what she was given.  I forgave her long ago.  But there is an emptiness inside me where I imagine everyone else has a pink puffy heart-shaped mug of hot cocoa.  And a kitten.  Blech.

What will my kids say about me, as adults, on Mother's Day, when they look back?  Will my daughters think of our relationship as the tightest bond they've ever known?  Or will I be the bane of the stories they will tell?   Oh my god my mother.  Horrible, mean, angry, hypocritical, manipulative.  She made Dad miserable.  She ruined our lives.  

A friend of mine posted about that Samsung commercial called #TextsFromMom, saying that she would welcome a text from her mom, who was distant and unresponsive at best, and downright adversarial at worst.  I quaked inwardly.  That is probably how my daughter feels about me.    That is a narrative she probably tells.  How much I internalize it on any given day depends on a combination of that day's neurochemistry and the prevailing weather pattern.   Today, for example, all signs point to GUILTY AS CHARGED.

It's pretty unfair, actually.  Joni Mitchell sings, "I told you when I met you I was crazy."  In a similar fashion, I told my ex when we first got together that I didn't want to have kids. I didn't like children, I didn't really understand them.  I was born this little adult who lived among adults and never really connected with other children.  I didn't want to mess up my kids the way I felt my parents messed me up.   I didn't want to be responsible for the way another human turned out.  I didn't trust myself.  Clearly, no one else should either.

Mr. K. said he had similar reservations but had come to the opposite conclusion.  He wanted to create a nurturing home life full of love and great memories as a way to heal himself from those early traumas.    He wanted a houseful of kids -- six!    Yikes.   All righty then.   Luckily, I was able to distract him after the first three and he forgot about completing the set.

Fast forward twenty-five years.   Marriage over.  So much for healing ourselves.  My relationship with my oldest child is broken, possibly beyond repair.  As is the case with parent-child relationships, it is up to me to reach out to fix it.  I've been stubbornly refusing even to consider this.  What kind of monster does not want to repair a relationship with their child?    What kind of monster just sits there, tapping their metaphorical toe, with their metaphorical arms folded grumpily?  Who waits for a child to start behaving like an adult?  Who does that?

The child in question is 22 years old.    She broke my heart, she and her dad both.   The story of how this all went down has been documented here over the last couple of years.  But do I really get the luxury of that broken heart?   Who allowed that heart-breaking behavior?   Who is choosing to remain wounded? And who is preventing the healing by stubbornly resisting the impulse to reach out?   Who is the grown-up, acting like a child?

That would be me.    Yeah.  I need to do something about that.  Remind me on Monday.  



  1. Hugs. Beating yourself up won't help anything. Work through the shit, when you can and just keep moving forward. Mother's Day is almost over. :)

  2. Yes, Klonnie my dear, you can have the luxury of a broken heart. You could be the best, most wonderful, understanding, caring, cookie-baking, crafting, 7-course-meal-every-dinner mom, and your kid can still completely and utterly break your heart. <3