I haven't watched the movie Prince of Tides in many years, but one scene I've never forgotten is when the childrens' mother, sick of her hubby's bullying of her and her three kids, stirs dog food in with his meal. Watching it gave me a jolt of satisfaction, deepened by his oblivious delight in the doggy meal. I nearly stood up and cheered!
When I see something of this nature depicting a woman's rebellion at the abuse of her children, my heart skips a beat. The thing is, I can't begin to imagine my own mother playing that role. And it's not that she was a simpering, scaredy-cat, though if she had been her lack of action would have been more understandable. As it is I don't know what to call her particular brand of passivity.
If my mom wasn't afraid of my step-dad, her passivity was a choice wasn't it? I mean, she deliberately didn't rebel, not openly anyway. I'm sure she harbored her share of rebellious thoughts, but she never acted on any of them. I can't recall even one instance of her doing so.
She wasn't afraid of the man who bullied us all. Was she in collusion with him? I know that she laughed along with him when he mocked me, but I guess I've always thought she felt like she had to. But what if I'm looking at it wrong? It could be she laughed because she held me in as much disdain as he did.
Yesterday I spoke to the brother I haven't had contact with since my father died in 1999. He's the black sheep no one in the family has anything to do with. I've had to think this through long and hard, this getting in touch with him after all this time. For reasons I won't go into here, I've kept my distance from him all this time. And for other reasons, mainly because I so miss him, I've decided to reconnect. Seems like every few years there's some stray family member I'm reconnecting with! Such is the fallout of child abuse.
Anyway, my brother clearly misses our father as much as I do. When he began talking about our mother, he said, "I hate to say it, but you know she never was much of a mother."
She never was much of a mother. No, I agreed, she sure wasn't.
Odd how stating something so simply frees me somehow, so much more than when I go in circles trying to figure her out.
I'll never know what makes my mother tick. I'll never understand all I'd like to comprehend of my childhood. Perhaps it can be enough for me, at least for now, to simply state the obvious:
She never was much of a mother.