Sunday, 11 May 2014

On Mom: For Mother's Day..

No, I don't want to tell Mom I love her for Mother's Day!  There! I said it out loud - finally.  Does that make me a horrible human being?  Maybe..  it may be the one time someone will say I'm a lot like my mother and not get an argument out of me.  The commercials have been grating on my very last nerve for several weeks now, ranking right up next to those repeated "Sometimes I just don't feel fresh" ads.  Enough, already! 

To be honest, I rarely speak of her, mostly because she really hasn't been a very big part of my life in any fashion.  Every once in a while something will happen or someone will ask and I'll find myself looking for some acceptable reason to explain away why I don't have a Mom.  Truthfully there isn't one. 

In my teens I remember my go-to being to say she was dead. I'd gotten tired of telling people the truth. I didn't want to be that girl who's own mother didn't want her - I didn't want people to know she'd run away from home.  In the end those 3 little words became so much more effective because inevitably the person asking would be shocked into a stunned silence, and for a little while there would be peace.  That worked well until one day my Dad heard me say it and scolded me for talking that way about my mother.  I never understood it, but as much as he was mad at her for leaving, and for staying away from us -- he'd never let me bad mouth her.  

In my heart, I believe that man loved her until the day that he died.  Of course it's my own personal theory, but he dated a couple that even kind of looked like her over the years - he never truly got over her betrayal or her leaving.  

I won't ever forget the day she left us.  From finding Dad in her "spot" in the kitchen when I got up, and being ushered into their room to talk..  seeing Mom put everything into two of the biggest boxes I had ever seen.  All the questions that came from a curious 10 year old and no real answers coming back. 

I remember my grade 6 teacher calling me to her desk one afternoon and quietly asking me if I was OK - one of the neighborhood kids had told her that my Mom had left me and she wanted to know why I hadn't told her myself.  I won't ever forget the look on her face when I looked her right in the face and quite matter of factly said "Well, I didn't think it was any of your business!"  She sure didn't like that.. 

To say the least, Mom and Dad were never able to put their own "stuff" aside so that we could have the best of both of them. I say we, but for the most part it was just me - as far as I knew my sister was non-the wiser to any of it.   Perks of being 8 years my junior I suppose.  

Sure, we had visitation on and off over the years - but all too often one or the other would cancel or change the plans with no notice.  I cannot count how many times we'd be all ready to go only to be told we weren't going and that was just 'it."  For quite a while she lived in close proximity but we weren't allowed to visit, and didn't have a phone number for her (her choice).  

I used to blame Dad for her absence, but with the exception of having moved back home briefly at 18, 21, and then when I had my chemotherapy at 24 ~ I have been on my own since I was 16 years old.  I'm 44 now, at what point do you realize that  blaming Dad for everything doesn't fly anymore?  At what point do you pick up your part of the compost, put it to pasture and move on with the day?  

It is a matter of record that Mom and Dad didn't work as a couple. That was old news, LONG ago.. but the part that gets me.. the part I worry that I'll never get past is not knowing why she never looked back for her babies.  What kind of a person does that?  If Dad was truly so horrible, why did she leave her children there?  So many things don't make sense.  Sadly, even as adults, she doesn't feel that we are owed any kind of explanation or understanding. 

I remember bugging the snot out of my Dad one time, because I wanted to visit her, and he didn't want to take me.  They'd had a fight and he wasn't to go withing a certain distance of her place.  I was persistant and he finally relented.  He dropped me outside and told me he'd wait down at the end of the street. I rang and waited. Finally, Mom answered the door and I said Hi Mom - all she'd say was that she had called the police and they were on their way.  I remember bawling into the intercom telling her that I just wanted to see her..  and then turning to see the police coming and running down the sidewalk bawling my eyes out.  I was so scared at seeing the police coming to get me (so I thought at the time) I ran the wrong way.  Thankfully Dad was watching up the street for me and caught my mistake.  I won't ever forget that look of despair on his face, he never wanted to see us cry.  He could never understand why Mom did the things she did - or in more cases didn't. 

That's not to say that Dad was innocent in it all - they both made mistakes - a lot of mistakes..  but Dad gets bonus marks for staying with us and putting up with us bitchy parts and all and never walking away.  Though I often wonder why he didn't.  We weren't an easy assignment, far from.  He stood tall through every lady friend or housekeeper that sent in Children's Aid making one claim or another because he'd given them their walking papers and I was so tired of the inevitable question that would always come -- Did your father every touch you?  
I hear myself channeling my friend Lorna, who would have chided something sarcastic like Oh yes, because My Mom left, that means my Dad is automatically a pervert!  Riiiight!    Boy, I wish I'd learned sarcasm earlier in life.  

What can I say? People are stupid and more importantly - Stupid should HURT.  (Thanks to my friend John, for the use of one of his favorite quotes) :) 

When I think of all we had to endure for the sake of our adults, I find myself wondering how much differently things could have all played out with just a little bit of understanding and compassion for the kids that loved them both. 

I always dreamed of the day we'd find each other, we'd have a heart to heart and whatever came next would be OK because we'd finally be a family again.  Thanks for reminding me that ours is not the stuff that dreams are made of.