While I’ve been home with the kids during quarantine, it has really given me the opportunity to reconnect with them. I’ve missed so much time chasing ‘the bag’ that I have been missing getting to know them. I’m in awe of the little people they’re becoming and their ever-evolving quirks and personality traits that sometimes can mirror my own, both good and bad. But as I sit back and take it all in, the three beautifully amazing kids I’ve created, I often drift back to my own childhood and my own life lessons that I’d come to learn when I was their age.
My parents divorced when I was super young. Honestly, I really don’t even remember a time when both of my parents lived in the same household, or got along for that matter. Most of their secret communication were harsh words and mean or vindictive actions. But to my face, they always appeared to co-exist harmoniously, until I got older. Or maybe I stopped seeing that part of my life through such rose colored lenses. Hell, when I started high school, I stopped seeing the WORLD through rose colored lenses.
Much of my childhood is a blur, honestly. There are specific memories of things that stood out to me that made an impact, but in its entirety, there are a lot of holes. My therapist told me it’s because of the ‘trauma’ that I dealt with. Apparently, I’m living with PTSD and I’m bipolar. That last part is from webMD…but the PTSD part, no, that’s my real life. That’s absolutely real. For years, I’ve tried to self diagnose and self medicate to take away some of the pain that I’m still carrying around from back then.
Like most kids, I lived with my mother after the divorce, but father was not absent. He legit was at everything and no matter what, he made sure that the punishment at mom’s house, carried over to his. Boy, did I idealize that man as a child. As an adult, not so much. Most of the things my mother had yelled out in frustration, were true. But this piece ain’t about him and his shortcomings as a man. I haven’t explored those feelings in therapy yet. No one wants to hear the ramblings of a mad woman.
If you ask my mother where we went wrong…what would she say? I’m not even sure. For me, our relationship jumped off the deep end around end of junior/beginning of senior year. An old friend had fallen on hard times and needed a place to stay. Even after the ex-friend and I had fallen off, for whatever reason, her and my mom became best friends. And my mother invited her to come live with us while I was at school one day. Imagine the person you couldn’t stand the most at the time sitting down at your dinner table EVERY NIGHT. In the moment, I couldn’t understand why my mother would do this to me. Such selfish, REAL feelings. For years, this girl stayed in our home and played my mother against me. Manipulating her. My mother even told me that she wishes she was her daughter and that she liked to ‘spend time’ with her. What teenage girl who is boy crazy wants to spend time with their mother? Well not me. That, was the absolute truth.
I had always felt that level of betrayal that I felt in that moment has always shaped our relationship. I left home very shortly after starting college at her request. But my ex friend, she stayed, for a long time after I left. My mother and I didn’t speak for years afterwards.
I mean honestly, what else was there to discuss? She had made her choice and I made mine. In my world, from my perspective, there wasn’t anything else and I was perfectly fine with not speaking to her. To this day, I’m fine without speaking to her. Because she is my mother I will move heaven and Earth for her, but that relationship is badly bruised. Of course we speak. I’m in the south because of her. My obligation as an only child to ensure the welfare of thy mother. Her health is fading and where else am I supposed to be?
My lack in trusting people comes from that part of my life. She always tells me that I’m so quick to cut people off after the smallest infraction. While that infraction may be small or minute to some, it’s enormous to me. Loyalty is something that means everything to me. What I’ve learned throughout my journey is that my feelings are valid and I have every right to feel the way that I feel. No one can take that from me. But I’m trying my best not to dwell on my past. I don’t want to live in that space anymore. So I’m working through it, and it’s been really, really hard. Betrayal is a hard one. It’s tricky too, especially when it comes to a parent.
I realize that at some point she and I will need to hash this one out. Although we have both spoken on how the other one feels about the situation, neither of us had a clear mind during the conversation. Both sides wanted to have the last word and were listening to respond but not to comprehend. Reread that part again if you missed it. ‘…listening to respond but not to comprehend.’ A lot of great arguments started right there. Put a pin in that. We will come back to that.
Now listen, I can’t say that when we talk about it, it’s going to get better. I’m working on myself and this is a VERY SENSITIVE subject for me. The growth comes when you see her STILL communicating with your mother and you haven’t completely lost your shit. I’m calling that a WIN! But forgiveness isn’t for either of them, it’s truly for me.