I’ve never really thought about being a mother, or what it actually means to be a mother.
I suppose more likely that I have given it some severe criticism over my days.
You know that moment when you just submit to how things are; how you are sure they will always be in the midst of knowing, while STILL trying, somehow, to make it better – perhaps over compensating in some mentality that had served you for a good long while; but has become such a self identifying characteristic, that letting go is hard, and humbling and tough to move beyond?
Yep. That is me.
I could blame the anti-mom game on my early life; social programming, feminism, Disney, and the World In General… but I won’t.
I made a choice of self preservation due to trauma in early life… and I have unabashedly stuck to it. I empowered myself by it; I gave it life and definition. I fed it by ignorantly and fyoulishly adhering to my trauma blinders.
HA! Like I think I have always known things!
When I was a child, I wanted to be a Grandma, above all…but, I also knew I never wanted to be a mom- so being a grandma, was probably out of the question.
I grew out of attempting to age quickly, and clung to the idea of being “The cool Aunt.” My tag line is “When you can’t handle the transitions, save your sanity and send them to me.” I believed I could be the bridging gap between generations, despite being a decade older than my sister.
Somehow, being single and childless, in my mind, equaled freedom which directly translated to “more room to comprehend and connect.” It also meant “choosing ones own connections” aka “being exclusive and reclusive, mysterious and confused.” “Appearing more purposeful than I actually feel.”
I have been, successful.
Successful at avoiding certain responsibilities by “opting out.” Successful at using the word “No”, even when it’s too much, going too far. Successful at building a very strong fortress around my totality of being-ness. Successful at giving out selective passage with time limits, to those who dare venture these walls.
But hey, what is your definition of “Success”? Is it at all defined by your MOM?
Mothers, just…they just aren’t suppose to just leave, ya know?
I don’t know… I mean… based off Disney, they are bound to. Moms exist as a memory with Disney. Why is it all the girls and boys who love Disney movies the MOST, still have their mom‘s?
Right?!? They not only HAVE them… they are CLOSE to them…
I guess, I should admit, I never really “bonded with my step mom in a way that would ever give me a real “Mommy” vibe. In the same breath, I will admit, I gave that woman hell with solidified child thoughts.
“You AREN’T MY MOM!”
“Why did you choose HER?”
“She WILL NEVER understand me!”
What wasn’t childish, and I didn’t understand back then, was the fact that I was unknowingly competing with an adult woman for my fathers’ attention.
Whoa, right?!? No one tells you that at 9 years old, even if you are going to a therapist who is SUPPOSE to help you navigate shit exactly like this; why? Because you are STRONG, you are RESILIENT, you are SMART, and if an adult explains it properly, YOU WILL COMPREHEND AND OUT DO EXPECTATIONS!
On the other hand, you can still carry all those attributes and go on like a bumbling fool because the adults around you are afraid of breaking a child who has already broken. A child seeking security, and finding everything around themselves a suspect. A child adapting, but never REALLY feeling like they are trusted or heard. Ho, Hum.
I don’t blame the effect of this on any one but myself these days. And, I am hard on myself, so I ask myself things like “Why didn’t you see this and understand this dynamic earlier? What is wrong with you? Why do you continue to fixate on things that are more easily accepted AS IS, instead of ruminating solutions to the past free-will decisions and actions of others? If that is what they would have thought was best, they would have. You know they are doing their best just like you, but you STILL SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT and KNOWN.”
UGH. Someone please bring me a 2×4 to beat my own head in.
That has been my life on repeat in variations for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS!
Coincidentally, my step mom married my dad at the age of 28, in May, nineteen years ago this year.
I had just finished up my first grade year. And let me tell you, it was an EPIC year. I went to Ireland with my grandparents, my brother and my dad. I felt like I landed in a place made just for me, except for my sensitive stomach. We traveled in a rented van and stayed at B&B’s and I felt like the magic of my heritage was upon me. During the school year I had a beautiful and kind first grade teacher, Miss Rolfe, who was super nice and magical.
Then The End of The Year came. A week before the last day of first grade, I found out my Miss Rolfe was getting married, and on the last day of school we made a celebratory field trip to Brimmer Park, down the road from Baggs Elementary. I remember my grandma took me to buy a gift, and I chose two silver candle holders. I was excited to show her how much I adored her.
We had a child like bridal shower in the park. We all brought gifts, and over sized white t-shirts for her to sign in magic marker. On mine she drew an eye + heart+ you. I felt that inscription in my heart. She was beautiful, she taught with kindness and I thought she would be there forever.
At the end of our picnic park party, Miss Rolfe broke the news; the man she was marrying had something happening in Arizona. She wouldn’t be at the school the next year; she was moving.
My heart broke, and I am sure my attitude showed it. My grandpa picked me up from school and we walked the three blocks home. I was miffed.
I remember being home a while and my dad came in. I was in the kitchen, and he knelled down to me sitting at the table. He asked me something like “What do you think about me marrying Karen?”
And my heart sunk lower in my chest, but given the opportunity to express, I said “No…No.”
I received an answer that culminated in “It’s too late.” I had no “real choice” in the matter.
So finding out I was getting a “new mom” with no choice, and realizing I wouldn’t be returning to Baggs Elementary; I was hit with the realization that I lost a teacher, a school and all my friends; but, hey, I was gaining a step mom and a move to the country west of town, to a new school and house.
I stayed mad for two decades, and anything I deemed my step mothers doing in my misery, went into my brain archive.
How DARE you ask me, what I think and feel, if in the end, it matters, not?
I have always fallen victim to my observations and opinions.
How does one become malleable? Roll with the punches and keep your mouth shut. Make up your mind and keep it to yourself. Suffer in silence.
I looked for my dead mother until I was fifteen; thinking somehow, someway, she could get away faking her death and continue living with another family in the same town. I looked for her in the aisles of stores, and in the clouds when I flew on planes. I thought, in my youth, that you could just put a bouquet of flowers on the roof on birthdays and Mothers day, and she would just float down and get it. It all continues to give me cognitive dissonance.
But… you know what pulls me out of that dissonance?
I am THIRTY SIX FUCKING YEARS OLD! This shit is old hat. I graduated high school half of my life ago. Life has moved on. Everyone is moving on in their own way.
If I am honest with myself and my observations, these truths are undeniable… I have kept myself stuck despite knowing the evolving truths….
My dad has someone who loves him, and her loves her back.
My sister has an attentive mother that adores her, and she deserves that.
They all have done the best they can with me, but I kind of scare them.
Everybody is fighting to comprehend the day to day, and it’s changing swiftly.
My step-mom has always done the best that she can with no guide book, she is brave and resilient; but most like me, adaptable.
I wish I came upon all this alone, but I didn’t.
I have been really blessed in my adulthood to have surrogate mothers. Women, regardless of age, whose lives seemed to somehow collide into mine.
I haven’t had the same “call and check in every day” or “pop in unexpected” or “care for you when you are sick” kind of relationships; but I have had some eye opening realizations and some heart felt growth. But honestly, I mean, in my own experience the one thing you have to face about a surrogate is, they will always be there MORE for their own in the most natural and organic way. You are not really the Fruit of Their Loom, er Womb.
Kind of the same thing with my “step” situation.
She has my sister, and my sister has her; and in no way would I ever wish a woman to grow up motherless. They have a pact I will never truly understand. And I would never do anything to keep them from it.
I hypothesize that maybe if you have enough surrogate moms, you can actually plan that into your schedule and hug more frequently, and have a reason to make lots of handmade cards? I don’t know. What I do know, is, they are there when I need them,most times. But I don’t ask for, or expect much, and that makes it easier for everyone. Life is like that. Sometimes, you have to just figure it out on your own because no one is there to pick up the call or rescue you.. or just soothe you.
And that is okay too.
Some of us have to learn to “Mother” ourselves.
My surrogates and my step mom have taught me more about themselves and myself in regard to the life around me by their unique perspectives and my willingness to listen and observe. They present perspectives I don’t have on my own, unless I really try. They DO HAVE birth children! They understand love on a level that I don’t They have and continue to ride that roller-coaster which may not be ending soon when it comes to life transitions and need.
Rumor has it, “You always want and need your mother… no matter how old you are.”
What do they want in return? These Mothers? Proof of existence? Proof that their pain and turmoil and worry isn’t in vain? Proof that their best attributes can rub off and be impactful and important through progeny?… Justification to a certain degree, that the risk was worth it? The worry has worth?
Honestly, I don’t fucking know. I am not even going to pretend right now. Tell me.
The best I can come up with, is, they are like me; care taking spirits. I took a different angle, and I know that the out come will be different. I have no expectation than to have to deal with the most gruesome parts of mortality alone. They probably expect or at least hope their children will be there to hold their hands through it, when it is their time.
I need to work on honoring this, because quite honestly I have previously just shat upon a Mothers purpose, Their purpose. We don’t have life without Mothers. We do not have balance without Women… and care taking humanity would be a lost cause without that energy.
But, I’m not a feminist…?!?
I don’t have to be, because regardless, Mothers gonna keep Mothering. I apologize if I wasn’t appreciative before. You all impact the totality of the past,present and future. We need your love and attentiveness. We need your kindness and structure. We need your support, and your presence. We need your fearless protective nature.
You are a TREASURE.
May all you Mothers, have a Mother Pluckin Mothers Day.