My mom didn’t like me. OK… I said it. That was my dark secret.
Before you get your undies in a knot, we LOVED each other….a ton. We visited regularly, spoke on the phone at least once a week and gave each other wonderful greeting cards. Face to face was a different matter, we didn’t connect and had precious little in common. I’m an active, no kids, traveling the world type person.
She was a Mom, hated travel and most days puttered around her house. Her last hobby was watching US politics. That wouldn’t be so weird…except she was Canadian…living in Canada. She used to leave me long messages about the latest news. So long, sometimes she’d have to call back to finish.
She rarely wanted to hear details about my life. She’d happily chatter on, seemingly about anything and everyone else. I’d get updates on family friends, other family members or US politics. I would listen patiently, yearning to tell her details about my life. Generally, I’d manage to deliver my life cliff notes. My sisters tell me she did the same to them.
A typical visit involved a drive to the grocery store, Walmart and out to dinner with my sisters. At about 24 hours, we would reach a tipping point. With the potential of an argument looming, I would go home and spend the following week recovering, saddened by the lack of connection.
I tucked that feeling away like a dirty sock, shoved it deep down in my back pocket every time I walked into a room. I was terrified someone would see. I ‘wore it’, blaming it on some flaw I couldn’t pin down. I tried changing but that only frustrated both of us.
Hiding all of this let it grow into a very dark thought. I thought, ‘if my own mother didn’t like me….why on earth would anyone else?’ Last month, mid holiday I told my secret. That dirty, stinky lie sounded ridiculous when I said it out loud. I blubbered like a baby for most of an hour, then felt 1000 pounds lighter.
Looking back, I realize my mom and I were so very different. We simply lacked the common ground to build a friendship. I wonder if she didn’t feel exactly the same, terrible way I did. I wonder if she ever felt good enough, I hope she did. She loved me and my sisters as best she could. Our relationship wasn’t all bad. There was love that included the best hello hugs ever and I always felt safe in her home.
Near the end of her life, we found some peace. After a disastrous fight, we broke up. We didn’t call or write. After a month or so, we had a chat that didn’t discuss our blow up. There was a silent agreement for peace. She died less than a year later. For that last bit, we managed to get along or at least not fight. We ended up with better boundaries, and more happiness.
Mom has been gone for five years. We will never find more in common. But now I’m ready to give up my old story and write a new one. It goes like this: We didn’t always like each other, but we always loved each other.
I miss her terribly, all of her…even the political updates. She would have been so entertained by the current administration. Though, it may have killed her.