Mother Of The Year
My parents and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on much. My relationship with my father has improved over the years, but my mother refuses to make any effort to reconcile with me and seems content in acting as if she does not have a daughter. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the luxury of severing ties completely, as they have grandparent visitation rights to see my nearly eight year old son. This is generally not an issue, as most visits are local ones with just my father, but two or three times a year, my son goes down to Georgia to visit with them both for an extended time. Recently, they had their two week summer visit in Georgia and my son came back with quite a few stories.
The first story was one I’ve heard before. My mother has been telling my boy that I am going to hell. My mother was never big into church until my little brother got very religious and started playing drums in the church band. Since then, she began reading religious texts and talking about God quite frequently. A few Christmases ago, she sent me a letter with a bit of scripture and notes describing what a terrible person I am. It was something she also did before I moved away; highlighted bible verses with notes on why those words meant I was a bad person. It was something I just had to get used to and learn to ignore.
My son recently let me know about her now telling him that his mother will be going to hell. In his words, “Grammy said that you’re going to the bad place downstairs because you’re not a nice person.” I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was. For a grown woman to tell this to an impressionable child simply blew my mind. This is the same woman who gave me all my baby photos and memorabilia about a year ago with a note about how she didn’t “need this stuff” anymore, so I definitely get that she despises me, but I could not believe that she stooped so low as to bring my child into this. This resulted in a very uncomfortable conversation with my boy.
Thankfully he understands (I think) that she is talking nonsense. My mother-in-law is very religious and by comparing her to my mother, my boy was able to see that no one who believes in God should be talking in that way. He was able to see the difference between a loving person and one who is just confused and bitter. I hope that he truly does get it and isn’t walking about thinking that his own mother is doomed to burn for all eternity. At this point, he is old enough to see that she isn’t the nicest person in the world and he has expressed freely that he doesn’t enjoy his time with her; he prefers visits with just my father where he doesn’t have to listen to poisonous words about his parents.
This morning, my boy let me in on a bit more of what my mother says when I’m not around. According to him, my mother says that I “stole him from her while she was at work” when he was a baby. It’s pretty damn difficult for me to steal my own child, but I know that she is referring to the time when I decided to leave Georgia in order to begin a life with my husband in Indiana. We packed up my belongings and hit the road while my mother was at work in order to avoid her interference. The stealing part is odd, as both my parents knew about my husband and my plans and knew exactly where I was headed. They simply didn’t like it.
I didn’t leave them behind due to some selfish reason or out of spite. I left because my son and I needed to be in a healthy environment so we could flourish. I needed to get my child away from the woman who tried multiple times to get my son to call HER mother instead of me. The woman who physically abused me and might do the same to my son. The woman who fights with poisonous words as she seeks to make others as miserable as she is. The woman who refuses to take medication to fix whatever is mentally wrong with her as she falsely accuses me of being bipolar. My life has been fantastic since leaving and she hates that.
I don’t consider myself to be a bad person, especially not in the way my own mother views me. Yes, I’m an atheist, but I’m not trying to mold my son into a godless person as well. He believes in God and likes the idea that we go to heaven when we die, and I don’t try to break that belief, I simply tell him about all the various things that people choose to believe in so he can make his own decision. I’m not on drugs or drinking to excess, wasting my life away on substance abuse. I sure as hell am not bipolar and “off my medication” as she claims. I’m not damaging my son, who is at the top of his class, incredibly curious and eager to learn, and one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet. I’m not the best mom, but I’m a damn good one and my son knows it and loves me for it.
Every child needs to choose their own path once they reach adulthood, and there is a pretty good chance that the path won’t be one that the parents imagined. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If my mom had her way, I’d be married to this little shrimp of a guy (because his parents are rich as all get out), living in Georgia as a housewife and raising two or three children, going to the salon weekly, and prancing around town like a little princess with my gorgeous children and my wealthy husband. The fact that I passed up Mr. Money Bags in favor of a man I love who doesn’t make six figures is incredibly confusing to her. The improvements I’ve made in my life mean nothing to her because I didn’t do things her way.
Right now, I’m not sure what my next course of action is in order to get her to stop trying to confuse my child and make him think his parents are terrible people. Reasoning with this woman is next to impossible and due to her health issues, my father is reluctant to interfere and stress her out. Going back to court is definitely an idea in order to get visitation reduced so that he has less time around her, but that is complicated and timely and sure as hell didn’t go my way the first go round. I just know I’m going to have to do some serious thinking to solve this because I do not want my son caught in the middle and forced to listen to lies out of the mouth of a broken woman.