It’s 3am and this is the second time I’ve gotten out of bed because my mind just won’t quit. I guess it’s my subconscious telling me this post needs to be written.
I hate Mother’s Day.
Yes. I said it. Now hear me out.
I don’t talk about my mother very often. To anyone. The last time I really blogged about her was nearly 3 years ago. I don’t have a relationship with her. When I did, it was dysfunctional at its best and toxic at its worst. She was not a very motherly mother. At least not to me. I fended for myself a lot in the mornings before school and when I was sick. She never woke up early to make me breakfast or fix my lunch. If I didn’t buy lunch, I had to fix it myself. I suck at fixing lunch.
I always had women I looked to as role models. My grandmothers, my aunties, pastors wives, etc. No matter how much I could look to those other women the fundamental it was a constant reminder that my mother was not fulfilling her societal role in “mothering” me. I’ve had strangers treat me better than her and I find that incredibly sad.
If we end up in a conversation or you see me on social media and I talk about “Mom” I’m referring to Dawn’s mom. I’ve been calling her Mom since high school. I don’t call my own “Mom.” She’s my mother. The woman who gave birth to me.
A very blurry pic of Dawn, Mom, and me.
I was remembering Mom de los Santos before I got out of bed the second time. She was the mother of some friends at church during my college years. She welcome everyone into her home as if they were her own. Everyone. Pretty much everyone called her Mom. It was right before Mother’s Day in 1994 when she passed away. I got the call at work from my then boyfriend. Her service was on Mother’s Day. The church was standing room only in the sanctuary and overflow room. It wasn’t a huge church, but it wasn’t small by any means. To this day, I have never been to a bigger service for anyone. That’s how much she loved and was loved.
I am the-daughter-who-never-goes-home. Being around her is too stressful. I am the ungrateful daughter who, according to my mother, never thanked her for anything she did or gave to me. I am the black sheep of the family about whom she tells outrageous stories to her friends. Stories that will have them saying, “Oh, my goodness! How horrible for you that she would treat you that way!” I am the daughter who is disrespectful because I refuse to talk to her. Do I care that her friends most likely think I’m the worst daughter in the history of daughters? I don’t give a shit. If they think that about me, they are judging someone they never met based on the stories told to them by a spiteful woman.
Forget the fact that I was the daughter who started cleaning the entire house at the age of seven. Bathrooms, vacuuming, and dusting, on top of doing dishes every night. I was the daughter making the grocery list, doing the grocery shopping, and cooking for the whole family before I had my driver’s permit. I was the daughter who watched my siblings everyday after school and was forced to take responsibility if they did not do their chores. I was the daughter who did it all to keep from being grounded while still maintaining good grades and being involved in extra-curricular activities. I was in Girl Scouts through High School. I was in school bands from 5th grade through high school, including marching band which meant two night practices a week, home football games on Fridays, and occasional tournaments on the weekends (and the rare weekday). I did a year and a half of Job’s Daughters before I got tired of the politics and quit. I sang in the church choir and Worship Team, directed the children’s choir, and taught Sunday School and Bible Study for the Kindergarten class on a rotation.
You know Battered Wife’s Syndrome, right? I have Battered Daughter’s Syndrome. It’s why I moved out as soon as I could for college and never looked back. I visited my parent’s home twice while I was in college. I haven’t been back since. Unless you count the drive-by last September to show Chaz. I don’t.
Being myself with Auntie Boogie and Granny
It was nine years ago that Lelang passed away at the age of one hundred two and a half. The day I flew back to Louisville was the day Granny was diagnosed with liver cancer. I was visiting seven weeks later and extending my trip because we knew she was going soon and I didn’t want to fly back and forth. I found her at the exact time the plane I should have been on was taking off. It was that week that I realized Granny had been my mom after we moved to California. It’s from her that I got so many of qualities. She was my equalizer. She did for me what my mother wouldn’t. Love me unconditionally.
I envy my friends who get along well with their mothers. I will never have the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. There is no one who can humanize her for me. Her own sisters don’t talk to her anymore either. She’s alienated her nieces by accusing them of stealing a glass from Granny and Papa’s house after Papa passed away and we were together for Christmas, five months after losing Granny. She swore she saw them leave with it. This from the woman who kept driving up to the house, plundering it, denying she had what she took, and telling her youngest sister she wasn’t doing her job as executor because of the thefts. Which we know were her. Little does she know that I have the glass. It wasn’t in the house that Christmas because Auntie Boogie gave it to me after Granny passed away.
Deep down I love some part of her, but I just can’t talk to her. Everything gets turned back on me. Her Borderline tendencies make everything I do about her. I tired of the dance we did. Deny, blame, guilt when she couldn’t face the truth about herself as I held up the mirror.
There was a time when I was younger when I was afraid I’d turn into her. I don’t know why. I should have known from Granny’s example that daughters do not always turn out to be just like their mothers. I know without a doubt that if I have the chance to be a mother, I will be nothing like my own. I had enough practice with mothering other people’s kids that I will be a much better mother. The kids even told me I’d make a great mom. From boys who had worse mothers than mine, I don’t doubt them at all.
With my beautiful Auntie Ai. Sister, auntie, mom to me all at one time.
Take all of that and couple it with the news I was dealing with last week.
I kept myself holed up in my craft room writing short fiction pieces for Chocolate Wasteland all day. I mostly stayed away from social media and all the Mother’s Day posts. “I have the best mom! I love you mom!” “This is the best Mother’s Day! I have the best kids!” I hated it and was happy for my friends and family at the same time. It’s good that they are so fortunate. At the same time, it cuts to the heart and makes me sick that I’m hit from both ends here. I mostly skimmed through my feed on Facebook and liked a status or share here and there. I have to thank Megan for acknowledging those of us without kids. It really touched me and made me cry, as much as I can with Sjögren’s messing things up. And to Belle, a friend who calls me Mamasan, for texting me while I was fixing dinner to say Happy Mother’s Day.
It wasn’t a total wash, but I still hate Mother’s Day so don’t be surprised if I’m posting something like this again a year from now.