The last time I sat down to write on this blog was way back in 2015. It’s unbelievable to me how 7 years can pass so quickly? It feels like my life has been this constant feeling of there’s not enough time and time moves so fast to time feeling like it is dragging, and I’m not sure what to do with all of my time. I, like most people, have my phone in my hand a larger portion of my day then I should. I randomly check my multiple social media sites, and I often stumble upon some delicious recipes and some thought provoking quotes that I save. Most go into my favorites folder and there they stay. Every once in a while one quote will stop me in my tracks and change me. I immediately know that I will have a lifelong reaction to the words I just read. This happened to me just the other day while mindlessly looking through Facebook, the site Tiny Buddha popped up, and I read the following:
“It’s a unique brand of pain when other people remember a deceased person for lots of positive qualities that you yourself never got to see. It’s even more painful when that person was your parent.”
It’s amazing to me how a quote on Facebook can awaken the feelings that I have always had about my mother, but never had the ability to string my feelings into words to make this much sense. I sit here tonight a 56 year old happily married mom of 2 incredible young men who has been trying to find the words to express to every single person in my life how it feels, almost 41 years later, to know that my mother was not the person to me that her other children and people in her life remember.
I didn’t get the version of her that they got. I can say for absolute that their memories of her are their versions of the relationship they shared, yet when I express my memories, I am often shut down with comments like “she was a wonderful mother”, “she was my best friend”, and “she gave her all to her children”. All of those would never be the words I would choose to define the mother daughter relationship she and I shared. Granted I was 15 when she died and she was only 40, there is a whole story there – but staying on this quote for this conversation, I really felt a weight lifted to finally have read the words that expressed the real pain the memory of my mother always covers me with.
I vividly remember she was in so much pain from the cancer that was killing her, and she spent many, many days in bed. There she often stayed with her other children right after she would tell me to go out and play. She never asked me to stay bedside with her. I went outside, every time. I went to go play with my friends, the people who wanted me around. Of course this time span for me was from age 13 through 15, which are very important molding years for young girls. Whether she knew it or not, each time she allowed me to walk out of that bedroom the hurt grew. I learned to begin the distancing dance, and I have been doing it every day since.
Instead of having a mama who taught me tenderness and togetherness, my mom’s decision to let me go – out to play – taught me that I am ultimately alone and it taught me how to keep people at arms length. I got her message, and I grew with that blueprint. It wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that my husband and my babies taught me that I have 3 people who want me around every single day.
I rarely look back to my mom and my memories of her for guidance on how to parent, instead I take my memories of her and my relationship and know that she taught me what not to do. I have soaked up every single second I have with my children. They are the best gifts I have every received, equally. I could never imagine my asking one of them to stay while shooing the other one away, for whatever reasons. I have days where time goes slow and others where it rushes by, but each and every day I have the one gift my mother did give me, my life. My life is filled with love for my little family. I love those 3 men with all my heart and soul, and I let them know multiple times a day that they are loved by me forever and always.