So, I don’t have a great family. I don’t really talk about it a lot. My mom has helped me a lot over the last 8-10 years as I have been a single mom and have had contract jobs and have needed financial help from time to time. But I have always been the kid who didn’t expect anything. I was the one out of me and my brother who was appreciative. I was the one the child who was the latch key kid from age 9 after school who never got in trouble and did not give my mom hell. I made decent grades, stayed home on the weekends a lot, even during senior year. I would spend all of my babysitting money to get my mom a really nice gift and my sibling who is 8 years older would put his name on the card. I wasn’t a model child, but I was a pretty good kid.
My brother is the one who lived off of my mom until he was in his 30’s and bounced from place to place while she bank rolled things. When I was in 7th grade we sold our house and my brother was 20 years old. He moved with us to our rental house and he totally drained my mom mentally and financially. He ran the phone bill up to 100’s of dollars a month, he had to have premium cable channels, and ate us out of house and home. Literally. He added nothing. He was a manager at a pizza place and an owner of a video store among other jobs, until I graduated, so he could have helped. But he didn’t, so my mom got a 2nd job and spent more time away from me in order to help him.
Saw in all those years, he did not give my mom a dime, or help out with yard work or with anything and she put up with it. Mind you, when I was 17 1/2, he was 25. So you can probably imagine that it was frustrating living with a big, old and selfish slob while I was a teen. Seeing him do absolutely whatever the hell he wanted and my mom not listening to reason about his behavior was beyond hard to deal with. Over the next 5-7 years he had my mom pay for so many things in his life, meanwhile I started paying all of my own bills at 19. So yes, my mom has helped me. But I have been a mom-a single one. And I have always worked, and supported myself. My brother could never do wrong in her eyes even though he always did. (may sound petty, but this is just a snippet of his crap)
My brother makes 150 dollars an hour and 2 decades later is still getting what he can from whomever he can. When he would stop talking to my mom when I was in my 20’s for whatever reason, mostly due to the fact that she told him she wasn’t going to help him anymore, I was there to pick up the pieces. I remember one Christmas about 10 years ago, he sent every single person in my family a gift except for me because I had taken up for my mom again when he did not show up for a very serious surgery she had on Mother’s Day weekend. I stood up to him and didn’t buy into his ivy league education psychobabble. And for that reason, he detests me and is just the tip of the iceberg of his disdain for me.
Now about my mom. My loving, but hard to deal with mom. During Christmas, she spent every second she could, putting me down in some way. Or berating me. If she wasn’t sighing in exasperation, she was getting in little digs about me to ML. I kind of felt bad for him because it was his first experience meeting one of my family members, and my mom at that, and she spent most of the time being argumentative and bitchy towards me. I don’t know if she resents helping me the last year, or if she thinks I am an a-hole or even worse if she dislikes me as a person. That last part sounds terrible and it is painful to write, but I think that it is the truth. It’s like we aren’t compatible, but we are parent and child, so what does one do?
We are just fundamentally different people. In every way!! She is very southern and not cultured and kind of closed-minded. Don’t get me wrong I love her. I want her to live another 25 years or more if possible (she is in her 70’s), and I don’t want any harm to come to her. We have just never had anything in common and I have never been super close to her. A lot of people have always assumed that we were because we used to laugh and joke with each other and have a congenial relationship, but it is because I know how to handle or deal with her. She isn’t a bad person, she is just extremely set in her ways and way of thinking and has been my entire life.
Yes, we are all set in our ways. I am conservative and traditional in many ways. But I am liberal in other ways. I don’t believe in people not being armed if they want to be, I don’t have an issue with gay marriage, I am with someone from another race, I don’t believe we should allow people into this country illegally. So I have my viewpoints and opinions and they are all over the place! Some may not agree, but everyone has their way of thinking. But I am flexible and am not super stringent or rigid with my ideas. I am friends with people different from me, I am open to try to learn new things and I don’t think my way is the only way. My family isn’t that open.
With my super conservative mom and even my super liberal brother, it is their way or the highway. I am somewhere in between. They aren’t willing to see the world or think deeply on situations. The way my father views the world is sickening, disturbing and so small. (that is for another post) As opinionated as I am, I am willing to meet people halfway or see their way of thinking even if I can’t relate. I try to understand why people feel the way that they do. I feel that with my kin, they are just focused on what makes them comfortable and not willing to get off of their high horses in order to find middle ground. And the thing is, at this point in my life I don’t want to argue about it, but i on’t want to ignore it either.
I think that the super stubborn and unwavering ways are true for both my mother and brother, but my brother more so than my mom. What is frustrating for me is that I have been caring and genuine and kind over the years, but for some reason I am the bad guy. Part of me feels like it is because I am unwilling to agree with everything that they say or do. And the other part of me feels like it is because I live my life the way that I want to with no apologies. My brother had to move far away to live his true life and I always have from the jump. I am many things, and there are things I lack. But authenticity is the core of who I am and though I care about people’s feelings, I don’t care enough to be someone other than who I am.
I guess that I feel like I don’t have much of a family and my daughter’s dad’s family really sucks and I hate that for her because I wanted different for her. So it’s my kid, my cat and my guy that are really my family. And my mom, but not in the way that I want her to be. My mom would be heartbroken if she read this, but she puts every person she has married (3) first and I guess Biblically she is supposed to. And when I get remarried, my hubby will come first. But I would never let another person come between me and my kid in the way that my mom has let the men in her life come between hers. Thank God I have ML who just gets it and respects that mother/child relationship because I couldn’t have it any other way.
I know that this post is all over the place and is probably not even written that well. But honestly, just confronting the fact that I don’t feel fully supported or loved or accepted within my small family is hard. It sucks big time. I have lived in DC for almost 15 years and the people who have come to visit me have been my mom, my brother (to see my mom during the holidays) and my grandmother who is deceased. The other family members promise to but don’t. So over the years between sibling and parental drama and the other part of my family being unwilling to go out of their way, I have developed a thick skin. I am sure most people don’t have perfect families, but a half perfect family would be great!
I have enough problems with my immediate family so I can’t begin to be hurt anymore by my cousins or my aunt. I just recognize that these people are just very limited in the lives that they live. So I exchange niceties with them on social media, even sometimes my brother and I will send him a birthday card when it rolls around because I am still trying to be the bigger person. But I am damaged by this not closely knit family. I am not attached to people like I used to be. My aunt and cousins are okay, but I am just honestly over the whole concept of family with these people. My father is a larger part of this than my mom could ever be and is largely responsible for my ability to cut people off. He knows he has a grandkid and just doesn’t care!
Mom at least tries to be supportive and has been there for me in a huge way the entire time I have been a mom. She sends my daughter things and calls everyday, we just don’t have a deep relationship that I would like and I am trying to move past that to enjoy the time I have with her. But my sperm donor. Wow, we haven’t spoke in in over 2 decades so my mom is a saint compared to him. Big time. She actually is a good person. But I have been through so much with her over the years and her relationships and judgement and not getting who i am or really accepting it, that I just never bounced back. The reason that we get along as well as we do is because I repress and forgive and forget-true story.
They say that kids are resilient, but that is b.s. Just because someone can recover from something doesn’t mean they should have to go through it. So I have done whatever I can to make her not go through too much drama. I think for my daughter, even though I haven’t been the best wage earner or been able to give her as much as I like or a huge college fund, I have offered stability. She feels safe. And loved. And supported. She feels important. I have slipped up and not been perfect, that is for sure. But I want a deep and close and meaningful life long relationship with my kid. I want no grudges and I want her to tell me how she feels.
I want her to understand that I can admit my mistakes and that I am not always right. I want my child to know that though things are not always perfect between us, that I will always be there. That there is nothing that she can say or do that will make me not care. That my love is unconditional (as much as humanly possible) and that though we may not agree, she will always be accepted and loved for who she is. I guess out of all of my pain and doubts and uncertainty, I can at least pass on wisdom to her. That is what ML says, and I guess that is true.
This post is just a tiny scratch on a surface full of breaks and indentations. But if it helps me to heal in order to be a better person and mom and partner, then I will keep hacking away until I let it all spill forth, or as much of it as I can. Thanks for reading and if you don’t understand it fully, I totally get it, it is a mess!