i should have known that a week that began with a broken coffee pot was destined to be, well... difficult. i should have known better than to attempt two new projects and three tutorials in one week, especially the broken coffee pot week. and i should have known this wouldn't be the year that mother's day stops feeling like doomsday.
we have our fair share of "mother issues" in this household. i've never had what you would call a healthy relationship with my mom, and for the last two or three years, i've made the decision to not have a relationship with her at all. this is a decision i have not made lightly, and certainly not without a fair amount of guilt. i think it is important to point out that my decision to not have a relationship with my mom was made solely out of protection for my own mental health and that of my daughters, not as some type of punishment, and not out of anger.
without hashing out too much of what my therapist calls my "traumatic childhood," i'll just say that my mom has always existed within her own world, in which she is a victim of most everyone and everything. she had an incredibly difficult childhood herself, and the person she became could indeed be seen as a direct reflection of those experiences. she never had anyone to teach her how to be a mom, how to care for her children, her family, or even herself.
when i was eleven, we read "codependent no more" together. when i was thirteen, she and my dad divorced. when i was sixteen, she remarried a man who wanted no part of being even a part-time father to her three children. she refused to refer to my dad as anything other than "the prick" and wouldn't allow us to call him anything else either. when i was eighteen, she kicked me out of the house (and it turned out my dad is a really great guy... not a prick at all). when i was twenty-six, we stopped talking for a bit because she was so negative about my pregnancy, constantly reminding me about my options and telling me that having a baby was a bad idea. she later sent me an "apology" letter with a boyd's bear that said "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." the last time i saw her in person, i was twenty-nine. my daughter was three, and we were visiting to celebrate both K's and my mom's birthdays. the day before our visit was to end, she asked me to leave early. you see, K had a tendency to wake up rather early (she still does, four years later), and the next day was my step-father's only day to sleep in so it seemed best that we leave rather than risk waking him up. when i was thirty, we stopped speaking briefly due to some very offensive racially-based comments she made. when i was thirty-one, she called to tell me that my step-father was leaving her. it was for a myriad of reasons, but the one that really stung was that she had tried to kill herself and he was upset that she hadn't left a note.
for a very long time, i kept expecting her to suddenly behave and react in a way that i though a mom should. no matter how many times this didn't happen, i always thought that the next time would be the one. eventually, i began to make peace with the fact that you can only expect from someone as much as they are capable of. the only way i could see to stop setting myself up for disappointment was to step back, to stop calling, and stop answering. i also spent a lot of time learning about myself, healing the wounds of my childhood, and finding ways to be the kind of mother who would not perpetuate the cycle of victimhood.
add to all of this that we're still processing, and will be for a long time to come, the grief and emotions of a four-year-old who has no real memory of her mom. (B's mom passed away when she was one and a half, which i mention in my about me in case you've missed that) i never met B's mom, but i do know some things about her. i know that she loved B with all of her heart, that she was a fantastic mom, and a caring woman who was taken from this world too soon. it is bittersweet that the only reason i have the privilege and honor of calling B my daughter is because of her mom's death.
yesterday there was a mother's day party at B's preschool. she was very excited about it, and very insistent that i be there. when i arrived, however, she began tearing up and told me that she didn't want me to be there, that i should "go to work." despite a brief chocolate cookie distraction, the tears continued and i left the party after fifteen minutes.
all of this made for a pretty rough day yesterday, but there is a happy ending. and hey, if you made it this far, you certainly deserve to hear it ;)
when i got home from work, B handed me a card. from what i understand, she had woken up from her nap and asked the teacher how to spell "sorry."
after dinner, we all sat around the kitchen table and played board games. we read stories and put the girls to bed. we drank some wine (just Nick and me, to be clear), watched a sappy movie, and had a nice cathartic cry. and i started to think about how lucky i am.
however it came about, i have two amazing daughters. and somehow, i'm one hell of a mom. these are the things that matter; these things are very, very good. and i should have known that even tough weeks are always ok in the end.
maybe, in the end, i have made a little peace with mother's day this year. and maybe the doomsday feeling will continue to fade in years to come.
so, this weekend, i hope that your flowers are slow to wilt, your wait for brunch is mercifully short, and that you're able to sleep in a little bit tomorrow. if that's what makes you happy ;)