This post has been started four times, deleted three times and now I have just decided to write it and not self censor.
Yesterday I was thinking about my mother, it being Mother's Day and all the. I called her and wished her a happy day. She asked how I was and I replied "Good".
Her response...."No your not. you have never been good'
I said "What do you mean?"
She replied , "You are not good, you are well , but actually you are not good, you never have been. You have always been a bad girl"
"oh thanks " I said.
"well not really bad, but you have always been bad"
Nice way to end my day!
Anyway...that got me thinking about my childhood and my relationship with my parents, and the impact of this on my development and adult relationships.
I was very lucky, I had a childhood where I dint want for things, it wasn't always easy, but there was always food and clothes, somewhere to live, a house that was, on the whole, warm and cosy. I had two parents. My dad was away a lot and my mum was a "stay at home mum". I am a middle child, and I think I definately have traits of Middle Child syndrome9 ( http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/middle-child-syndrome-5482.html).
For reasons of my dad's job I was sent to boarding school at 8. And i can honestly say for the first year I was happy and then for the next seven i hated it. I hated everything about it , i hated the silly rules, the food, the lessons, the bedroom, well i could go on with the list...but I just hated it. OI longed for the holiday and couldn't wait for term to end. Sometimes my parents were too far away in half term and so I would go and stay with my very much loved grandparents, but usually I went home
I have very little recollection of the holiday, I don't know why. Maybe its that nothing really happened in the holidays to make them memorable , maybe they were so awful i have blocked then=m out (but I don't think so ) but I just have vague memories of a few bits.
I have often thought about my relationship with my parents and my siblings. I get on better with them when I am far away. Over the years my younger sister and I have got on better and better, but my elder sister and I never have got on well.
I was always the peace maker in the family, the conciliator, the one who had to negotiate for everyone, and i still am, although as the years have passed I am becoming less inclined to , less bothered about if they don't get on and think that maybe they should sort it out themselves.
I have always loved the men in my family, both my grandads were wonderful men, very different, but equally wonderful., full of patience, kindness and both with wicked dry senses of humour. My dad is lovely, a true gentleman, in both senses of the world, full of honesty and integrity and again a sense of humour that could have you falling on the floor with yes a wry comment.
My mother on the other hand is mean spirited, seemingly generous, but under the surface completely self centered and self serving. She is cruel and unkind, divisive, manipulative and cold when challenged.
A few years ago my best friend was dying of ovarian cancer and I remember walking across a field with my dog talking to her on the phone, and she was saying how happy she was, how dying made her realise how happy she was, how lucky, and how very blessed she had been. She talked about her wonderful children, her husband, and her parents, who I have, over the years come to know and love too. She talked about how she felt the love from her mother when she told her that the treatment hadn't worked, how her mother hugged her, and for just that moment, nothing mattered, because she was so totally loved.
It was then that I realised that I never ever remember my mother hugging me voluntarily. She has hugged me back, but has never just hugged me.And for that one moment in the middle of the field, I felt the complete opposite of my friend, who was full of happiness, except I realised I am completely indifferent to my mother.
It made me take a long hard look at my own parenting skills, and made me realise that I had done a good job, in fact I have done a great job, I have two well balanced, beautiful children, who are kind and thoughtful, honest , well mannered, hardworking, polite, loving and independent thinkers . I love my kids, and they know it. maybe its as a reaction to my mothers behaviour to me, but I have always hugged my children, they know I love them, I tell them and they can see that this is true by the way I behave towards them and how we live our lives.
They are not perfect; they have gone through the grunting years, the silent months, they have had untidy bedrooms, they have been completely self absorbed as any normal teenager has to be, they have thrown major stomping fits around the house, slammed doors and locked themselves in, but they have, through all of this known that I love them, which I can honestly say i have never been entirely sure of as a child of my mother.
I know my dad loves me, he was away for a lot of my childhood, he was never a great hugger, or vociferous in his expression of love, but I KNOW he does. He has never judged me, never put me down, and has always quietly supported me in his own way.
I am not sure entirely where I am going with this post, maybe it is a continuation of yesterdays one about "mothering", maybe it is just some thinking back about what has made me the person I am, the mother I am. Maybe it is thinking about how we choose to be what we want to be, how we do not have to follow in the footsteps we are lead down, but we can choose to walk out own path, maybe its about "breaking the cycle", of whatever we perceive to be something not so good from our pasts.
Maybe its just a final admission to myself that I don't love my mother, it doesnt even make me sad any more , I just accept that that is how it is, and that to have someone love you, you ahve to do something to earn it, and keep it.
A mother's love should be unconditional, I am not so sure about a daughter's
This was a three years ago, and my friend died soon after, and at her funeranl it was filled with love and sadness, laughter and joy for the celbration of a wonderful woman, daughter, wife, mother and friend.