Mother as Child

Referencing this post from HONY but wanted to log this as my own blog post. I don’t write about my family issues very often, but would really like to vent about it more in this space.

humansofnewyork:

“I always remember my mom having this hardness to her. Even if you were at the other end of the house, you could feel her presence. Not like a monster, but kinda. She needed everything to be just a certain way. She’d arrange the towels perfectly and didn’t want anyone messing them up. She’d keep these detailed notes on money, and daily activities, and even her bowel movements. It was a diary of her anxieties. She always needed everything to be just a certain way, and she always had such a hard tone to her voice. But I loved her. I remember walking into her room shortly before she died. She was curled up in bed because she had very bad scoliosis, and she looked so small and vulnerable. And next to her on the nightstand was a picture of her as a little girl, standing with her mother. And it made me sad, because I knew that little girl had never wanted to grow up to be a ball of anxiety.”

My mom was no monster. She did want things certain ways, and I picked up that behavior from her and ran with it until I was the organized, meticulous control freak I am today. Still, she was kind the majority of the time, if a bit of a gossip.

But it was that last part of the HONY post that got me. In her old age (she’s almost 72), I very often think about my mom as a little girl, how loving she seemed in old videos and photos, how full of life and hope she was. She probably never wanted to grow up to be the bundle of uncertainty, passiveness, apathy, and depression she can often be. But she got hurt and let down by her alcoholic dad, her unaffectionate mother, my dad, life, her own choices (or, rather, lack of choices and lack of action).

She tells me she’s fine – and she means it when she says it. She says she’s okay with looking back on her life, doesn’t have many regrets. I can’t believe that’s true. Maybe it’s not up to me to determine if it IS true or if she is practicing willful ignorance, but regardless, I can’t believe it. And it kills me when I think about it too hard.

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