Round 2

Writers Write

Surprised Again

Kiddo left one month ago as of today, and I’m still alive. That’s a good thing. I think. Well, I’m not one of those women who can’t function when change occurs. I’ve battled my demons and know how to keep them tame…for the most part. I ADORE my boy and he’s my best friend in the world. But I knew he’d leave one day, so I prepared. It still took me the entire freaking month to stop tearing up every time I went into his lifeless room. But now I can clean his closet without grabbing a coat and rocking on the bed. WOOT! OK, so maybe it hasn’t been that  bad, but my inner mom has been having a rough time. She’s calming now. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing…not my WIP, mind you, but actual stuff that pays. Kinda. I’m a slow writer and work is molasses this time of year, so money’s really tight. I make a bit monthly, but it’s nowhere near a livable wage. I hoped I’d be closer to a certain monthly number by now, but I realize I can’t force extra work to come my way. All I can do is be open to it when it does materialize. That sort of maturity floors me. I know I have it in me, but it’s still a shocker when it flashes. 

My mom’s shown signs of the same lately. Now understand, I love my mom but she’s different. She’s a tough bitch. And I can say that because it’s absolutely true. I’ve called her on it countless times. Everyone who meets her falls under her spell instantly; NOT because she’s insanely beautiful to look at – although she’s always had Audrey Hepburn-esque qualities, but because of her personality…to those who don’t know her. She’s hilarious, kind, loyal, incredibly intelligent and killer strong. But she can be one hell of a bitch. When people compare us, and they have my entire life, I groan with mixed feelings. I LOVE her positive traits, but the negative ones blow all of those out of the water. When my mother gives her opinion, that is the only option. Period. It’s not up for debate and she will make anyone who goes against her suffer through mastered mental manipulation. She can be ruthless and cruel without even trying.

This is tough for me because I’ve seen it in myself. Of course, I’ve seen it a lot more in my siblings. One reason I moved so far away from my family for so long was to get away from that. I was really worried about what would happen when my boy went back…what my family would say and how they’d react to him (possessive wise, not if they’d accept him. I know they adore him). And even though it’s absolutely none of my business, I worried about not only what they’d think of me since they have him back there, but also what they’d say. My middle sibling and my mom can’t manage to get along for more than 5 minutes. It’s more than just personality conflicts, my sister can’t stand our mom. There are legitimate reasons for her angst, but she takes it way too far. So, I wasn’t too surprised when she tried putting my kid in the firing line. 

My mother will hold a family cookout for any reason she can think of. If it rained for three days and she saw a rainbow coming home from work…cookout time! It’s just really tough getting everyone together anymore. So when everyone decided they could make it to “grams” over Memorial Day weekend, she threw a quickie cookout together. Turned out my kid didn’t get the message. Mom got upset and made it clear in an email to me that she was disappointed everyone was there but him. I thought that was hilarious and made fun of my family when I talked to him next. And then he contacted my sister about it to let her know people need to tell him about things if they want him to be there. It wasn’t a vent. It was an innocent comment because most of the kids in the family are hers. However, she took that to mean that mom purposely didn’t invite him. She didn’t ask ME about this. Oh no. She texted my mother and called screaming about it. And then mom emailed me all hurt and worried about her part of “neglecting and alienating” him. And then I dealt with kiddo and told him not to do that shit again because my sister is nuts and grams is apparently overly hormonal. What fun. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been emailing several times, back and forth, with my mother and I realized something. She’s kinda cool. Well, I always knew she was cool. But since we’ve been here, anytime we’ve talked, she’s gotten overly personal and demanding. I guess with age, new health issues and medication, she’s let some of that obsessiveness go. At least with me. At least right now. Maybe she sees me differently, stronger, since I “let” my “baby” go out into the world. The day he left, she emailed me all worried. My mom doesn’t worry about me like that, so it surprised me. But she said how scared she was for me. I had to read her words a few times to get it. It wasn’t a ploy, she wasn’t pretending. She was honestly concerned. She thought I’d lose my shit and gods know what else after he left. I was in really bad shape when I left my ex husband. I spiraled into a deep depression for almost a year. At the worst stage, I had a bit of a breakdown. My mom witnessed that. But I’m stronger now. I won’t go into that darkness again. I’ve told her that, but I guess she needed proof. She saw proof when my kid recently stayed with her for the weekend. 

Suddenly, the emails were different. “He’s doing so well, kitten.” “Oh, darlin’, you’ve made me happy to see him like this”. And most recently: “You’ve done a great job with the boy.” And my heart stopped. 

My mother has never said the words “You’re a good mom” to me. I know why. It’s not because I’m not one. I don’t boast or brag much about stuff, but I’m a damn good mom. But my mother said those words to my siblings and they proved her wrong at one point or another. One of my siblings, especially, has been a horrible parent in the past. The idea of telling me I was a good mother was lost on her. I’ve heard it from everyone else, but she didn’t want me to prove her wrong like her other kids had. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but I get it now. And I’m OK with that. I don’t need her approval to carry on. Still, a daughter always wants to impress her mom. It’s ingrained. So while it wasn’t “You’re such a good mother. I’m so proud of you, baby girl”,  “You’ve done a great job with the boy” was a hell of a shocker. 

Aaaand I’ve gotten back into yoga, which is apparently good for releasing pent up emotions. Ya don’t say? Yup. Who knows, maybe by the time I get myself back into order, I can consider rebuilding relationships back home. I know, I know, one step at a time. But the stairs look sturdier than they have in a long time.