It’s actually Kinda fun watching all the odes to mothers on Facebook, but the truth is, I can’t even begin to muster that same sentiment. You see, I survived my mother. I endured her. Growing up in my family is something I wouldn’t have wished on anyone.
It was only by sheer semi-autistic persistence and will that we managed to come to some sort of detente and make peace before she died of cancer some seven years ago.
Sure! My sense of what’s right, my relentlessness, my capacity to roll with the punches, and my willingness to call the bad guys out are directly the result of her influence. But it wasn’t a positive dynamic – it was a response to her abject dysfunction and inability to correct her own life.
So, when my good friend and former programming partner Karen Tellef penned this short piece on the very dynamic of which I speak, it turned into one of those rare occasions when this author extemporaneously exclaimed, “Damn! I wish I wrote that!”
To all my friends and readers who find Mother’s Day to be a difficult challenge, here’s what she said:
“This post is for those of us who feel estranged from the Happy Mother’s Day posts. For us, we can only sit back and wish we had those sentiments.
Some of us had mothers who were unhappy with that responsibility, and who stayed in bad marriages. And that unhappiness affected everyone, for their entire lives. Sometimes when the children become adults, you can understand what they were going through, and achieve a kind of “truce”. Sometimes the child never gets over it and finds it almost impossible to forget.
It’s just a roll of the dice whether the children will grow up to be good people, or whether a bad environment will negatively affect them. In my case, both my sister and I seemed to turn out to be good, well-behaved adults (although neither of us ever wanted children, and I didn’t even want to be married).
You have no idea how I wish I had just one picture in my photo album of my mother and I sharing a good time together. I wish I could truthfully wax poetically about what a wonderful mother she was, the amazing things she taught me… but I can’t. I have some satisfaction that we did have that “truce” before she passed, but it was never easy. I watch women of my generation and their daughters be amazing mothers and grandmothers and be genuinely “liked” by their children. And I am happy, and jealous.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself!