child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Monday, May 9, 2011

bitter part of a bittersweet Mother's day

Mother's Day is a bittersweet holiday for me.  I have read umpteen facebook comments and blogs telling about these amazing mother daughter relationships.  I love my mom, I love her a lot, but it does make me somewhat jealous to read about the relationships others have with their mom's that I have always dreamed of.

My mom and I are black and white, day and night different.  I am emotional, sometimes to a fault.  I think everyone deserves a second chance, and another second chance and another, well you get the point.  I empathize with most everyone.  I think a little grace goes a long way.  I believe that everyone has a story to tell and I long to hear those stories.  I am firm in what I believe but am always willing to listen to someone else tell me why they believe something different.  I want to see the world from perspectives other than my own.  I believe that it really is God's loving kindness that draws us to repentance.

My mom is logical, often to a fault.  She can hold a grudge longer than anyone I know and isn't so good at the second chance thing.  She doesn't understand that different from her doesn't equal wrong.  She wants to apply reason to every situation and often doesn't understand the emotions the wrap themselves around an issue.  My mom wants the everyone to see the world from her perspective and never wants to hear someone having different beliefs. 

See what I mean?  Polar opposites.  I love my mom, though when I was younger I didn't realize it.  We have a relationship now, which when I was younger was painfully strained and difficult and practically nonexistent.  Our relationship though does not look like any of these amazing ones I have been reading about.  We talk.  I try to keep her involved to some degree with my life and with my kids.  But she doesn't know my heart and that makes me sad.  It makes me sad to know that I have never been able to share deeply with her because she wouldn't even want to understand.

She doesn't know that I have struggled with a serious eating disorder on and off since I was 14 and extremely over the last year.  She was angry with me when in jr high, the principal of my school called her and my dad into the office to tell them he had found out that I had attempted suicide.  She doesn't know that wasn't the only time I attempted.  She doesn't know that I have struggled with depression for my entire life.  She doesn't know that I spent a week in the hospital just 8 months ago.

I long for the relationship where I can call my mom and tell her anything.  I long for the relationship where what I see is her strength and beauty and can tell others about it.  I long for someone to encourage me as a mom, a wife and a woman.  Heck, I still want someone to teach me how to cook and keep house!  I'm 30 something and feel like a teenager when I try to do anything useful.  I want to matter.  I know I matter, but I want to matter to my mom.  She taught my brother how to cook and clean because she wanted him to know how to take care of himself without a woman.  I guess she assumed that I inherently knew because I was a girl.  It was my not blood (but wish she were blood) grandma Jody that taught me how to put sheets on a bed and how to iron a shirt.

On Mother's Day, I always feel like a disappointment and a failure.  My mom says she wanted a special mother daughter bond as well, but whenever I reveal my heart to her, I feel judgement.  This year I think I hurt her feelings.  I didn't make plans with her for today.  I called her and offered to come over on one of her days off to have coffee and give her her present.  I couldn't bring myself to go over there today.  My feelings are still really hurt from some of our more recent interactions.  Maybe I should have just sucked it up and behaved like a good daughter and gone over anyway.  Her feelings were hurt and I could hear it in her voice on the phone.  It was even more clear when she asked if we were going to my in-laws tonight and I answered truthfully that yes we were.  I'm the jerk daughter who hurt my mom's feelings on Mother's Day simply because I didn't want to spend my own Mother's Day feeling judged.  I wanted to bask in the love of my own children and husband.  I wanted to be the queen for the day.  I wanted to be selfish and I was.

Mother's Day is hard.  It reminds me so much of the relationship I long for that is unattainable.  It makes me ache for someone to hold me when I'm scared or encourage me when I feel like I've blown it as a wife or mother.  It makes me ache for someone to call when I don't know how to cook dinner who will help me, not laugh and ask how it is possible that I don't know how to cook such and such.  It makes me sad that I cannot do mother daughter teas, pedicures and other totally girly bonding things.  It makes me long for an older and wiser woman to come alongside of me and tell me that I'm going to make it through these crazy years.

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