Hi there Lovies-
It’s Mother’s Day Weekend.
On my very first Mother’s Day in 2003, I figured out my daughter MiniMe was the exact age I was when my Mom died. I thought it was some kind of heavenly guardian angel sign I was going to be an ok Mom in spite of my reluctance to take on the job and inability to adapt to it without a crap ton of anxiety, anger and overall angst of losing myself and not having the life or baby I wanted. My Dad died while I was pregnant with her and in some feat of super human emotional strength I had held it together and convinced myself I was fine for the remaining 4.5 months of my pregnancy. When she came she was beautiful and she scared me to death. She was a very hard baby and I was a very unhappy Mom.
3 years later in 2006 I was the Mother of a son and a daughter. The Destroyer was a very very easy baby but I was no happier with motherhood or my life.
3 years go on the Saturday over Mother’s Day weekend my husband walked into our living room, stood at the end of our couch, and stated in my general direction “You know, we can get and fill out divorce papers on-line for $175”. It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming, I “started” the whole thing after all, but in that gut punch moment my whole world spun on an axis and went from already fucked up to oh my God this train is going to wreck in glorious fashion and I am the driver. The first thing that went through my mind was this fucker is trying to call my bluff, he’s backing me into a corner to see what I’ll do. I don’t even remember my response, the only thought going through my head was ” I will finally be free of this life”. I took both my rings off by Sunday morning. We spent Mother’s Day telling our kids “Mommy and Daddy love you, just not each other anymore. We are getting a divorce”. Long story short, despite a 4+ month separation, an online affair with a catfish and the resulting implosion when he vanished rather than explain or apologize for his completely faked identity, my Husband using a credit card of mine he had taken in the divorce as his debt to pay for a plane ticket to fly my former best friend out to “see” him for a weekend and then lying about the entire thing (for years in pieces) before it blew up in his face and various other minor and major bits of nastiness, we didn’t actually get divorced. We prevailed.
Last summer as I sat smoking in our garage, shaking, sobbing, empty in despair, yelling to Babu ” I hate you all just as much as I did three years ago, only this time I’m not trying to fuck anybody else. And I’d like some credit because these last few months have been pure horror”. Horror I didn’t think I would ever go through again. My heart and soul was in actual worse condition than the day “Paul” vanished, only this time it wasn’t my fault. I’m not doing anything this time I yelled, It’s NOT ME!!!!! His response was to inform me he didn’t think we should of ever gotten back together. He’d already talked to his friend on wife #3, and he and wife #2 were really great friends now and maybe that’s what we needed to be. I remember every single second of the resulting 90+ minute conversation. At the end of it he acted as if everything was totally peachy and he had no desire to leave me anymore. I didn’t believe it would stick.
Two days before Christmas he hauled me into the garage in a big huff about how he’d wanted to “wait until after the Holidays to have this conversation”, after I had the audacity to sit down at the table, force him to turn his attention from his phone, and stated “I just want you to know, no matter what you have done or might do in the future I’m not going anywhere, I want to be your wife”. He informed me he had been plotting to leave me/us since shortly before Thanksgiving. It took him over 60 minutes to get to the point and for 59.5 of those I TRULY thought he was going to tell me he was having the affair I had suspected since July. When he got to the point he tried to tell me once again, this was all my fault and he could just never trust me and he just always knew this would happen. It became painfully clear in the moment he’d never done a single bit of work beyond swallowing the previous battle and pretending it never happened. He did a really good job of hiding it too until ADHD ravaged through 3 of the 4 of us and sent me into new depths of personal hell. To say I didn’t cope well at first with the ADHD journey would be a huge understatement. He’d rewarded me for no longer being able to be the strong one by checking out and then pulling the I’m leaving you card…again. Abandonment and denial is apparently his thing. This 2nd battle for my marriage was much much different. No crazy train, no fucked up outside circumstances. I immediately hauled him to Tab for couples counseling and fought sometimes minute by minute battles with myself. To not throw him out, to not remind him I had no need for him, to not dream of potential lives I’d already let go of, to fight to change and grow some more for myself while trying to keep my mouth shut, to hide it all from my children. I clung to every tiny baby step he made towards change. Until one day not so long ago during a very long car ride, I decided I’d let myself trust him again.
A few weeks ago we lovingly, happily celebrated 13 years of marriage. I can’t tell you if I thought we’d get here. To be completely honest a huge part of me figured I’d be single by this weekend. 3 years behind in where I could of been had I just not agreed to explore going back to him the last time instead of letting the 2 days away from final Divorce proceed. At least I knew I would be able to pat myself on the back and state “not me this time bitches, go away shaming haters there’s nothing to see here”. I’m better off financially, emotionally and in many other ways than I was then. I knew I’d be absolutely fine without him as my partner. So why didn’t I just curb him? First, I knew I couldn’t look my kids in the eyes and tell them, yet, that I’d done everything I could possibly do to keep their worlds from vortexing. I. just. couldn’t. So I chose to fight. Second, I thought long and hard about Babu and I, I asked myself if there had ever been even one point in time where I felt truly emotionally safe and connected to him as partner. I located a very small window in 12+ years where I felt the was statement was true, and I clung to it like my life depended on it. I used it to keep me from doing too many stupid things while I worked to change, some more, and patiently (NOT) waited for him to recognize I was worth changing for, our family was worth changing for.
This Mother’s Day it’s been 3 years since THAT Mother’s Day. Thanks to his bad timing Mother’s day will always be an Anniversary in my mind. The day all who know me remember as the day my husband told me he wanted a divorce, the first time. The day will never be the same, I will never be the same. We’re solid, and always will be working to stay solid. I’ve either come to trust there will be no bailing on his part the next time life send us a horrible journey or come to trust I’ll be ok if he does.
We still battle the ADHD/ADD demons in our home, and I’ve been really quiet about it here. I’ve written about everything but the real pain and events I am/was going through. I recognized I’ve been hiding it away from I don’t know what? Fear? Maybe, probably, yes? I’m in the tail end of clearing all self perceived bad JuJu out of my life, home, head and prepping to turn my focus toward my kids and my relationship with them before they are too old and it’s too late. To be the Mom who actually likes being a Mother, and the life she has as a Mother. I love my babies and sometimes go absolutely apeshit crazy trying to protect them from both real and worried threats, but I’ve never been able to reconcile motherhood inside myself. I lost my Mom at 6 months old and didn’t get a good example after of how to mother well, successfully, happily. I hope that doesn’t make me the bad Mom I often feel I am. I’m finally ready to delve into truly embracing motherhood and opening myself up to my kids so I can love them better, more, less anxiously, less fearfully. I hope I’m not alone, and I hope I continue to have the courage to share some of the journey with you in the middle of the running, gardening, decorating, fearlessly be yourself posts. We shall see 🙂
Happy Mothers Day Weekend Lovies. Go hug your Mom and tell her you love her. You might have no idea what battles she’s fought, is fighting to keep your world intact.
PS> Thank you Orange Rhino, without your brutal delicate honesty I’m not sure how much longer it would of taken me to write this post, discover I have a voice lower than straight to 5-7 or try as hard as I have been for the last few days to learn not to yell.
When I was a baby, my Mom died. She didn’t make it to the age of 41 and she didn’t make it a year as my Mother. She left behind my Father, my exactly 15.5 years older than me brother and me. I’ve written the story of how she chose to take some experimetnal drugs while carrying me and fighting breast cancer, how I was expected to be born an absolute vegetative mess, how I was considered the miracle baby in my family. I was given my paternal grandmother’s name for my first name and my mother middle name (and the name she went by) as my middle name. I grew up hearing story after story of how strong personality wise my grandmother was. But I didn’t really get to hear all that much about my Mother.
I don’t know all that much about my Mom as a person. She, MiniMe and I share a middle name. I know facts about her family life and history, a little bit about the things she loved to do. I have some of her things. But no matter how many times I’d try to discuss her with my Dad, it must of been too painful or contain too much emotion because I never got very far. I felt my whole childhood like I was some kind of emotionally driven stranger in a house full of people who didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t express or feel or talk about things. I often felt shut down and frustrated. I’d get little bit of information about her, but she was my Mother and I hated my Step Mother and I was always desperate for more. I never went to her grave until I called a family freind and begged him to tell me where she was buried so I could go see it. I was a young adult. I wanted to have some connection, some way to put my finger on something and say this was her, this is you, you are in fact bound together even in absence. It wasn’t until I was graduating from college and my my Mom’s one living sister came and declared that I was “just” like my Mother that I started to feel like there was a connection between us beyond my name and the fact I’d been made to take piano lessons for years because she was a great pianist and piano teacher. I was put in piano lessons about age 6 because she was a well respected local Piano teacher when she was living. There was a huge 8.5′ concert grand piano in my house growing up, and later in my first house. It was hers. My piano teacher, Afffie had known my Mom and taught with her in the state Piano Teachers Association. My Mom had at one time been the president. A typical kid, I didn’t enjoy the practicing as much as I could of, but I played until I was in High School and won the recital contest at the High School level ( I always wondered if I was given preferential treatment at those because they were run and judged by ladies and men who knew “who I was”. High School was the highest division, if you won a division you had to compete the next year in the division above yours, and at the time I was a freshman. There was no division above mine and I was a teenager who was done with lessons and practice so I quit. I haven’t really played since and i can’t read music anymore either. I sold the grand old piano when MiniMe was a toddler because it ate up an entire room in my home and even though it was a great statement piece and a perfect place to keep the wrapped Christmas presents, I couldn’t justify an entire room housing a relic I never used and was unlikely to revisit. The piano was probably metaphorically as big as the hole in my heart for her absence, but it was time to move on, as an adult and a mother, from hanging on to impractical things just for the sake of sentimentality. But I have always yearned for her, always missed her presence in my life and always wished she could of lived and been thre to Mother me. In my mind, anything would of been better than what I had.
Once I got pregnant with MiniMe I felt another connection to her. I was 31 when MiniMe was born and I started paying very very close attention to what I was sharing with my baby in those first six months while simultaneously trying not to lose my shit over “was I going to somehow die in her first 6 months and abandon her”. I wrote monthly email updates to all of our family and friends about how she and we were progressing. As we neared the 6 month mark I started to get specific. I am a details girl, in case you haven’t already figured that out, and I wanted to know exactly how old I was when she died. I wanted to mark and take note of the day. So I did the math and the result brought me to massive tears. Here is the excerpt from that month’s writing.
As I was walking in the RFTC with my long list of “In Memory Of” names on my back, I began to reflect on being a Mother to my Daughter for the last 6 months. My Mother died when I was six months old. And prior to having MiniMe I used to think what an incredibly short amount of time that was. I also wondered exactly when in my life she died. I checked and I was exactly 6 months and 10 days old when my mother died. Now that I am on the other side of the equation I can tell you that 6 months and 10 days is really quite a long time. I know how much my daughter loves me right now. I know my Mother must have felt the same love coming from me. So even though I can’t remember what it felt like to be held or snuggled or kissed by her, I am certain we shared the same special moments that MiniMeand I share now. I feel blessed to be alive and able to mother my child for much longer. I will be celebrating this special event with my Daughter on Mothers Day, when Haley will be exactly 6 months and 10 days old.
MiniMe was a c-section baby. Her delivery date was chosen because I was carrying about 3 weeks bigger than I should of been and they were afraid she wasn’t going to make it out. I went in for an appointment on my due date with zero dilation and zero effacing. I think we should go ahead and take her they told me. Do you want to do it tonight or Monday? I chose later that night and gave up one last date night and a nice dinner we had reservations for. I often felt like that was a stupid move in those first few months of her life. I wished for that one last dinner with The Husband. As her Mother I was sacred, lost, often angry and frustrated on the inside. I sat nursing her night after night wondering what it was like for my Mom. Holding a baby she knows she isn’t going to see grow up. Wondering why she never bothered to write me even one single letter or note or anything else that might help me know she loved me.
And then to have my first Mother’s Day land exactly on the mark in time when I was losing my Mom as a baby. It felt like the letter I’d been searching for my whole life.
On next Tuesday October 18, 2011 I will be standing on the mark in time of my Mom’s exact age at death. She lived 40 years, 7 months and 14 days. More to come about that on Tuesday.