My little granddaughter was asking me if my dad is still alive. I told her he wasn't, and she wanted to know if my mom was. I said yes, and she said, "Oh, well where does she live?" I told her Arizona; she pondered this and then said, "Nana, I don't think your mom remembers you anymore."
Huh. What a random comment. It kept pestering me as she rattled on about other things. Remember me? I wanted to say with great disdain, she never even knew me so how could she remember me?
Perhaps she never knew me as I grew from childhood into adolescence, and then into adulthood---but does she remember my infant self? I wonder if she ever broods on my earliest years, of the babe she held her arms, the baby cutting teeth or the toddler being potty trained. Had her first flickerings of love for me fizzled by the time I became the eager first grader, thirsty for knowledge? She once told Sissyface that she had no trouble feeling affection for her babies, but by the time they began walking and talking, and expressing their own unique personalities, she couldn't really relate to them or feel that same affection.
What goes through the mind of a mother who fails to protect a daughter? It's easy and tempting to demonize my mother; but, I have to wonder, did she ever experience moments of maternal love? Did she ever smile down at me as I drank from my bottle, or cuddle me as much for her own pleasure as for my comfort?
Years ago she mentioned that when I was a baby and toddler she would sometimes dance me around the room to whatever was playing on the radio. I don't know if my expression betrayed my sense of disbelief, but I could hardly imagine such a scenario. Did she really do that, or is this just another lie she's told herself in order to hold to her self-image as a loving parent?
I would like to think that she had her better moments. I would like to believe that, for all her moral failures in my later childhood, she did experience moments of tenderness for her firstborn daughter. What caused her to fail me so abysmally later on doesn't have to mean she never felt a natural human love for me. Does it?