I have always been slightly confused and jealous of friends who have functional relationships with their parents. I grew up without my father around and watched a severely depressed woman raise four children in fear. Her children were supposed to obey her and be polite. Over and over in my childhood I heard people tell my mother how well behaved her children were because we used our manners, didn’t talk loud and called our Mother ‘ma’am.’ We were the kids on the block that were called inside before it got dark and were always put together. We were beat with a belt or fists when we did something that she didn’t approve of…like the time I asked a friend’s mom at school for money for an ice cream. First she flung me across the room, then she made me return the money. All my mother wanted to do was be a mom, one would think she would have showered her kids with love – I would have grown up a different woman if that was the case.
I wish the memories I had as a child were ones that included our family going to the park, doing arts and crafts together or in the kitchen baking. Didn’t you have a good childhood? my friends and daughter ask. Did I? What I remember is my mother giving me my first bloody nose. I remember her leaving me a birthday gift on my bed and telling me she was at her boyfriend’s house. I remember her being at her boyfriend’s house. I remember a quiet empty house. I remember being alone in a suburban town and feeling like an outsider. I never did discuss with my mother how I felt, how sad I was growing up because in our house we didn’t talk about our feelings. It’s no wonder I have such communication issues in my love life.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised that she got annoyed when I asked her to drive me and my two-day-old daughter home from the hospital nine years ago. I shouldn’t have been surprised that as soon as I laid my newborn daughter in her crib I heard the front door slam, her truck start and zoom off to her boyfriend’s house. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the first night at home with my daughter my mother decided to be at her boyfriend’s house.
Read the rest of “Loving My Mother Though The Hurt” over on The Young Mommy Life.