Not Every Mom Is A Mother
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to deal with my father a couple of times each month. If you happen to be unfamiliar with my situation, try to imagine how hard it would be to deal with a parent who has written you out of his will even though you’ve never asked for anything or taken advantage of them. A parent who has sued you for somewhere around $50,000 of bogus claims and charges. A parent who calls your marriage a sham. It’s quite uncomfortable and after years of dealing with more than I can put into a blog, I gave up trying to reconcile with my mother and father.
Last Friday, my father presented me with an overstuffed manila envelope with my name crudely scribbled across the front. He said “your mother thought you would want this.” Having manners, I said thank you. He turned his back on me. After he left, I brought the envelope upstairs and cut through the packing tape that was wrapped around it multiple times. Inside were my photos. Or rather, photos of me from the day I was born up to around the time I had my son. There were also certificates from silly accomplishments in elementary school, ribbons I won on field days, badges I had earned. I went through the photos slowly; me in the hospital looking like a little Chinese baby, my first dive during swimming lessons, various dance recitals, vacations, awkward preteen moments, high school graduation, prom, my whole life in pictures. In an envelope. When I reached the end of the envelope’s contents, I found a piece of paper that in large black letters said “DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH THESE, I DON’T WANT THEM ANYWAY!” All it was missing was a “Love, Mom.”
My mom is notorious for taking jabs at me and doing things intended to hurt me and make me feel three inches tall. My husband has seen the cruel letters she’s written to me and he’s heard her lay verbal assaults on me. Whenever I angered her, I was sent to my room for weeks at a time without radio, books, or anything to entertain myself with other than gazing out of my window. The very first time I brought a guy to the house, she told him with a straight face: “I don’t like people. I don’t like you.” That pretty much sums up how she treated each and every one of my friends and boyfriends since that day and currently; she didn’t approve of my husband from day 1 and never even gave him a chance or even bothered to meet the guy, although she did lay an evil look on him in Target while he visited me in Georgia. My mother absolutely hates me, no question about it.
Thankfully this act of giving me all my pictures and effectively erasing the photographic presence of their daughter from their home wasn’t hurtful as intended. I had been feeling regret that I had no photos of my childhood to show my son and (maybe) future kids and now that issue is solved, as I now have my life from birth to early 20s covered! I toyed with the idea of sending my mother a thank you email, but decided against it. She would take the email as 1. Proof that she had emotionally scarred me by sending them to me, 2. A reason to reply with a scathing email about how God hates me and I’m going to hell, something I really don’t have time to read or make fun of, 3. Interpreting my thank you as an attempt to reconcile rather than the half sarcastic message it was meant to be, or 4. A sign of my weakness and proof that she once again found a way to break me. I do send her non-verbal thanks though for gifting me with memories. I also have come to terms with the fact that it will never make sense to me and I should stop searching for reason where there is none.
Some people aren’t meant to be parents and sadly, my mother and father fit into this category. What it all comes down to is the simple fact that having a kid doesn’t translate into loving your kid. I’ll always be their daughter in the genetic sense, but that’s where it ends. They’ve made it clear throughout my life that I didn’t fit well with the rest of the family. Once my grandfather, my biggest defender, passed away, there was no holding back my mother from making it clear that I was a terrible person. What I’ve realized is that maybe it’s not entirely their fault. My parents weren’t programmed to have an independent child; they needed someone who would remain under their influence and do what they saw fit at all times. They weren’t prepared for someone intelligent enough to see through their lies and someone bold enough to call them out on it. I wasn’t the prissy preppy daughter they wanted, who planned to marry rich and become a baby factory with a bachelor’s degree that never got put to use. And for some reason, rather than accept me for the person I am, they chose to treat me like trash and then cast me aside.
I’m lucky though when you think about it. I didn’t get stuck in a microwave or a cage like some parents are doing to children nowadays. I was never beaten badly enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. I didn’t suffer any permanent damage, physically or emotionally. I learned the unfortunate lesson that the ability to have a child doesn’t come with the ability to be a parent. The unconditional love I feel for my son isn’t something that came with donating my genetic material to put him together. The love my husband has for our son didn’t come from any genetic bond; he met my son during his toddler years and became his father by choice, loving that kid more than I thought possible. People have given me that judgmental glare when I mention that I don’t communicate with my parents, thinking that I owe them something for raising me or thinking that they HAVE to love me, I just need to apologize. No, I don’t owe them anything for raising me; they chose to have me and wouldn’t let me leave their house until I turned 18. No, they don’t HAVE to love me just because they made me and no, an apology from me won’t mend fences, I know from experience. The truly unfortunate part is that the parties involved constantly refuse to take the high road and agree to disagree. Maybe we should view parenting in the same way we do a romantic relationship or a long friendship; sometimes things just don’t work out and the only thing left to do is to go in separate directions.
“Just because someone spits you out of their crotch doesn’t make them your mother.” – Agent Paul Kellerman, Prison Break