A Garden of Delights

Mommy Dearest Too

Posted on: April 28, 2010

A small note to a friend of mine inspired this…  She and I haven’t been that close of late, but today, for all the distance or time, miles, and disagreements, I feel so much closer to her than I have for a long time.

It comes down to trusting instincts.  It’s harder than it should be.  To trust comes hard enough for me.  I have trouble trusting myself, let alone most others.  The world seems so very big to me; I seem so very small…  It’s silly really.  I am really that small.  The world doesn’t care one toot about me.  Hooray for me!

I’m starting to see this as a good thing.

Bear with me.  My joy probably seems strange, but it’s real.

It comes from accepting that no one really should care about me either.  Nor should I care about them.  I can choose to care.  Others can choose to care.  Making such a choice gives me something, fulfilling me and my needs, gratifying my own self-interests.  Enlightened self-interest makes the world go around, so to speak.

What does this have to do with trust, or my friend’s note?

Well, I was considering why I keep trying to stay in touch with this friend of mine, even though we are so often at odds.  And the only answer that ever really comes to mind is that I really trust her.  She may piss me off, she may bore me, she may be off on another planet somewhere (figurative speaking — sort of), but barring some stupid crap in high school that all kids try to pull, she’s always done her best to keep her word.  And since I’m a stickler for justified faith ;-D , I like that in a person.

So, when my friend was having troubles with someone in her family — someone that she should be able to trust and feel secure around — because of her choices as a mother,  it brought to mind some similar issue I am having with my own mother.  And how I feel about my own mother….  (this is where instinct come in).

I don’t really like my mother.  My mom is a very standoff-ish type, with strong views on things that she isn’t afraid to forcefeed to you (for your own good of course) if she feels the situation deserves it, but mostly she would rather make faces and scoffing and grunting noises (somehow that just feels so much better to write than “shows her disdain).  But she is my mother.  And despite the unease she inspires in me, years of reinforcement makes me continue to try to build our relationship.

I say “try” here.  Truth is–I have to try to do it.  Otherwise, I tend to just forget she’s still alive.

I don’t forget my father.  For all my father’s flaws, I knew what to expect from him.  He terrified me, but if I ever needed help from him, he was right there fumbling alongside me (or at least offering advice over the phone).  With my father, I always had a sense that he wanted to do the right thing and the best thing, even if he didn’t know often what it was.  And oddly enough, I always knew I mattered to my father.  Or maybe it isn’t all that odd.  All the pictures of my childhood show Dad carrying me on his shoulders.

Or it could be that I’m a mother myself now and I see things in my own mother’s behavior that I’m afraid of in mine.

This is, after all the woman that chase away the horrid “lactation consultant” that I was given at the hospital, when both my son and I were so very frustrated by the “expert’s” poking and prodding and hovering.  My mom was at that point in time my greatest savior, and I was amazed by how she stepped forward and protected us.  Both Dan and I were too tired and emotionally battered by the whole experience (I swear, four full runs of Pitocin should earn a woman an Olympic medal, and her partner a bronze).  Nothing had gone the way we’d wanted, except that we had this beautiful little boy to care for, and this so called expert who had never nursed (let alone have a child) was giving me a guilt trip because she’d never dealt with size J-cups before….

For a time Mom and I were close, but….  maybe there was more unease there than I knew?  maybe because my son hadn’t had the emotional flash of joy and relief that I had he was better able to sense what I’d always felt before about Mom?  Whatever the cause, Marcus was never comfortable around my mother.  Yet, I still felt I should make sure they spent time together.  I tried to bring him to meet with her–he cried a lot whenever she was around.  I tried to let her touch him–he cried more, and I felt queasy.

Only a few months later…  my three month old son, my little snuggle boy….  At one of those little lunch meetings that were usually the only place I felt comfortable meeting Mom with Marcus, we were saying good-bye’s in the parking lot.  I was just getting ready to put Marcus in his car seat, and my mom asked if she could hold him for a moment.  He didn’t want to go and squawked to high heaven.  And after a few seconds, only a few seconds, of “oh, come now, let Grandma hug you” and “Shush“, she slapped him.  I was staggered.  I was horrified.

And worse yet, I knew in my gut that this was wrong, and all I was able to do was take him from her and set him in his carseat….  Heck, I didn’t even cuddle him, stunned little thing.  All I could think of was that I needed to get away from her, and the fastest way to do that was get him buckled in and say “Good-bye.”  I don’t remember exactly what I said.  I know it was along the lines of “I’ve really got to go.  I’ll talk to you later.”  No scolds, no accusations…  I didn’t really know what to say.

So, instincts….  I should learn to trust them more.  But even more than that, I want to write this because there is a woman who I’ve never doubted was a safe person to leave my son with, who in some ways, I trust even more than myself at times with him…

I wanted to write it for a friend.

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