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« Front & Center | Main | A Decision Made »
Friday
May172013

Does She Remember Me?

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?

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Hi, Dreamer, and thanks for your visit. You are insightful & encouraging, as always. :D

I have been learning much about my own mother in the past year or so. It has always puzzled me how my sisters (all of them 9 years or more older than me) saw her as the beautiful light of their lives, the one true shining star. I saw her as a horrible betrayer who rejected my pleas for help, despite their obvious nature.

One thing I have learned may or may not help you understand your own mother. You see, when I was born, my mother had gone 9 years without birthing a daughter to my father's harem. And since they had had 3 girls in a row, she was certain I would be a boy. However, upon finding out I was yet another girl -- and knowing what that meant in our family... I have been realizing that she turned her heart against me with all her might, in order to endure what she knew was coming. And it probably saved her, as what was done to me was indeed worse than all that my sisters had endured. I am certain her heart could never have taken it, had she ever allowed herself to become attached to me -- or even, much aware of me.

Now, I am not making excuses for either of our mothers. My own mother made my life and its struggles much harder by her own coldness and rejection. However, I have come to at least understand WHY she went out of her way to NOT be there for me -- despite the fact that I can not picture myself doing that to one of my own children, and even thinking of not being there for them during any of their big struggles definitely hurts my heart. But that is because I am attached to them, and can picture it no other way.

Of course, we don't really NEED to understand why our mothers failed us. Because when it comes down to it, all our failures are just aspects of human frailty -- all just weaknesses that need the Father's touch. I know you will, but I encourage you to seek the healing hand of God to touch those painful, empty places that were originally designed by Him to be filled with a mother's love. He is our hope. Thank you for sharing in that Hope with me, sister! :D

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSynthGirl

Hi Synth,

I appreciate your thoughtful comment so much.

As for therapy, I've been a couple of times for short periods of time and it was pretty painful. I know there are some in my life who think I should go back, but I'm resistant to the idea. My last therapist told me that I'd actually made quite a lot of progress all by myself before I began seeing her. I don't think therapy is the only answer; like you I believe the Father's touch to be so important in any kind of healing process.

No, we don't need to understand why our mothers failed us. That is to say, I don't believe we need that understanding in order to heal. But for me it seems vitally important to have some understanding of why she handled things the way she did. I think it's a matter of putting together as many missing puzzle pieces as I can. I won't ever have a complete understanding of her ways, but I would like the occasional glimpse.

Thank you SO much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. And for calling me sister!

May 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterbeautifuldreamer

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