As you can clearly see, I have some strong mother issues to deal with – usually with girls its Daddy issues, but not in my case. I grew up thinking it was Daddy issues, and if I had a dollar for every time I heard my mother say, “I don’t want to talk to you about your dad, but…” I would be a millionaire by now. Because after she said that, she would then proceed to tell me every negative detail of my dad, his life and their marriage that NO child should ever have to hear or know. And the more I told her to stop, the more she told me. Until I got married and my hubby and I made it very clear that this was going to end. And even then, she would take a chance when hubby wasn’t around and try tell me all the sordid details of their marriage and divorce – no matter what my father did or didn’t do, he is still my father and I do not want to know these details. And it wasn’t anything hectic – he drank a little, he provided well for the family, he never hit us, abused anything or us. But, she had decided even before she married my dad that this wasn’t what she wanted and so lived her whole life living that out.
Now she is married again, and her second husband has been caught stealing and financially is pulling my mother into a huge sinkhole that I don’t know if they’ll ever recover from. And hubby and I certainly don’t have the money to support them in old age – I have no idea what they’re going to do. Anyway, so last night she is telling me about how her husband was caught stealing, and how devastated she is about how things have turned out, and then she says, “I was stuck with your dad and now I’m stuck again.” And there it was. I knew that somehow my poor old dad would be drawn into it again. The thing is, my mother is extremely demanding and I think there are very few men who would have coped with her high demands and constant attention seeking.
And I know there are never any guarantees in life, but what if – just what if – she had gone into marriage with my dad wanting things to work out, instead of wanting to leave before they were even married. Anyway, when she said that, I realised something – something I’ve always known but the realisation came through very strongly to me – I AM NOT MY MOTHER. No matter how hard she has tried to make me a carbon copy of her, no matter how hard she has tried to live her life through me, no matter how hard she has tried to instil her will, demands and ways onto me so that I can validate her existence – none of that matters. Biologically, genetically, personality – whatever – I can never be my mother. And I don’t even need to stand firm or fight against this, because if I do that – I will live my life constantly fighting with someone I do actually want a relationship with. I think it is enough to know in my heart of hearts, that I am me. The whole is greater than the individual parts – well it took two people to create me, and then there is that part that is just me – not my mom, and not my dad. So I can be free in the knowledge that I will never be my mother. Nor my father. I can only ever be just me.
And I’ve gone into my own marriage wanting it to work – and I still want it to work today. In fact, more than ever. Because I love this man and I know that he loves me. And while I know there are no guarantees in life, I hope that our desire to want “us” to work and our desire to make things good and healthy and true between us, will be enough to always see us through the bad patches and to have the pendulum swing again always to our favour. That – and God’s grace, because 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
And I do so hope that things work out for my mother. And I do want a healthy and balanced relationship with her – she is my mother and I do love her. But, I also need to be true to myself and to my family. And my family is my number one priority – because here I am the mommy and I need to give them of my best.
For ever and for always, in all ways…