Monday, May 13, 2013

mother's day heartache

That ten-year-old girl I used to be, she breaks my heart. If I could meet that girl today, I would take her into my arms and give her all the mothering she never knew.

Now that I am a mother, I see clearly exactly how damaged my own childhood was. At 3 years old, my mother was torn away from me, or wandered away from me, or whatever it was that happened. For the next 4 years and on into the next decades there were bitter custody battles and financial battles and emotional battles... At 8 years old my one stable foundation was pulled out from under me and we moved from the home that stayed standing even while my family crumbled inside its walls. Uprooted and scared. Photographs of that girl show a thin, breakable child with dark half-moons under her eyes. A child who cried at home every night and who went to the nurse’s office at school every day with an anxious stomach ache.

Later that year my mom remarried and my dreams of my family rebuilding were shattered. And then the next year, a new woman entered my father’s life, and everything changed.

How fast I was forced to grow up as this woman pushed me away from my father. How young I was to be forced to have the maturity to put my feelings and needs behind hers. How unfair that was. Feeling nervous to be too close to my daddy in (very reasonable) fear that she would get jealous of his affection for me. Walking on eggshells for the next 8-20 years, wondering what I and my dad, the person who meant the most to me, had done to deserve the silent treatment, the stonewalling, the nasty remarks under her breath, the biting humor at our expense, the emotional manipulation and abuse.

And this 30-year-old woman is angry. I’m angry for the child who had to sacrifice everything for a grown woman who had no right to demand that. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who needed a 10-year-old to exceed her in maturity. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who tried to make me an outsider in my own home, with my own father. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who resented that I existed. I am angry at the selfish step-mom who made sure we always knew we were second-string (or, fourth-string) and would never compare to her own children. I’m angry at the dad who allowed it to happen, and who still won’t stand up for himself or his daughters out of fear of being alone. I’m angry at the dad who allows his children to sacrifice everything to accommodate a woman who has no regard for them. I’m angry at the mother who wasn’t there. I'm angry on behalf of the older sisters who had to step into so many roles they shouldn't have had to. I’m angry.

It’s Mother’s Day and instead of feeling happy and thankful for the two mothers who had the chance to raise me, I am feeling angry and resentful at the rotten hand the child-me was dealt. I got two chances to have a mother love me, guide me, show me what it means to be a mother, and instead of getting to honor double the women each Mother’s Day, I got double the disappointment.

I am angry that I have two beautiful sweet souls who call me mother and I have no idea how to mother them, how to guide them with a firm and loving heart, how to balance their needs with my own, what to do so that these two children, in 20 years, will honor me and not resent me.

I am absolutely, passionately, so intensely angry.

(I started this blog to be an anonymous place to write the honest things of my heart. If you know me in real life, please be respectful of the private nature of my writings here and keep them in confidence. It probably doesn't need to be said, but there it is anyway. Thank you.)

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