I’ve become my mother.
Well, not really. I’m most definitely not my mother, but I’m starting to understand her more than I ever thought I would. I don’t talk about my childhood much, as my siblings read my blog and while one of them remembers things as I do, the other one, not as much. I don’t talk about my childhood with anyone really, because it’s…something.
I don’t really know how to explain my relationship with my mother. It’s this weird “I’m more the parent, I’m indebted to you, but somewhat resentful @ the same time,” sort of thing. As a child, I was really resentful and my foster father would tell me that while maybe things didn’t go according to the master plan, she did the best that she could.
This is kind of where I’m at now. Things haven’t gone according to my parenting plan. Divorce wasn’t an option I considered and I never anticipated my kid…hating my guts. It’s something I don’t talk about because I don’t know how to tell people “And my daughter hates my guts.” During the divorce, her Dad would tell her about his money woes and how much he wanted to live back at home. So, the poor child took it hard. She would ask me why I made Daddy leave (as he was quick to stress that I sent him packing). Then, about a year later, she said the “S” word in front of her Dad (she was proud of something she had done and told her friend she wanted to tell her stepdad) when she was talking and he hit the roof and things got physical and ugly. The poor child was desperate for a father figure, as her relationship with her Dad is hit and miss, that she glombed onto a family friend she called her Uncle and then the “S” word (despite my attempts to downplay the relationship). She wants that two person family, and she thought she had one. She kept asking me to fix it, because she had parents that didn’t fight and did stuff together and we told her that we were a family and families don’t just stop being a family & he needed to be with us because he (& I) promised that we were a family and now she is mad at the world.
Every suggestion of a family outing ends with “Why? we’re not a family. YOU wrecked that.” So, I explain again. We’ll go, but she pouts, save for a couple of outings with friends. When her teacher called me and said she was sullen, I mentioned her feeling like she has no male role model, prompting “We had one…but YOU made him go,” and I explain again. Fortunately, after a waiting list, she’s finally going into counselling, where she can address her issues with her parents, the divorce, her feelings that her grandfather favours her sister, etc. and unlike my mom, who used to coach me for answers, I reminded her that she could tell the counsellor that she’s mad at me, her dad, her grandpa. I continuously explain that her emotions are valid and it’s okay to talk about them and blaming people for things that just happen isn’t really fair, but she’s a child who is slowly becoming a young lady who feels abandoned by a lot of people, so it’s easier to be angry and all women know Mom is a fair target. Had I just let Daddy stay @ home (I obviously can’t tell her WHY her parents split…because Daddy kicked Mommy’s ass isn’t appropriate), Had I just learned to get along with Ratface (a long used name for a former friend’s girlfriend), then Uncle would still be here, had I not made the “S” word leave us (despite my explanations that he’s just too busy to be with us), she’d have a stepdad and a normal family with normal parents and why do I make anyone they love leave? When I suggest the idea that maybe someday someone else might end up her stepdad, she & her sisters freak. They want “that” stepdad, only him. They love him, he said we were a family & he came back before & said he was staying forever. Fortunately, they don’t want just anyone to fill that void, which is a little comforting.
I guess I now sort of understand how my mom felt. She couldn’t give me what I wanted anymore than I can give them the family unit that they want so desperately. I can’t give my youngest the friend she longs for so much that she invented an invisible version. I can’t give my eldest the ideal family unit that she wants. I can’t give my middle daughter total control of the universe. Much like I can’t give them chocolate for dinner or buy them everything they want on TV, I can’t do it and I feel like I’m failing them because it’s heartbreaking to know that they’re hurting and you just can’t fix it. I’m now starting to understand what my foster father said a bit better and I often wonder now if she sat alone before going to sleep @ night feeling helpless that she couldn’t just make it all better. All I can do is love them & guide them as best I can & hope they don’t end up the thing I fear most…
…screwed up like me.