I’ll start out by saying that I love my Mom. She did the best she could and I wouldn’t have ended up the man I am today without her.
That said, growing up with my Mother wasn’t easy.
When I was a little kid I was the apple of my Mother’s eye. I was her baby boy, I could do no wrong. It was the same with my younger sisters, when they were young they were “perfect”.
But then I reached my teenage years. Rather than blindly going along with whatever my Mother said I began to question things. If there is anything my Mother doesn’t like, it’s being questioned.
It was like a switch flipped in our relationship. That’s when I started to see the other side of my Mom. The controlling, manipulative, bitchy side. I learned that my mom is an expert in passive-aggression, a talent that she picked up from her own mother.
One time, my sister’s and I had gotten confused about my Mother’s Birthday, we thought it was Sunday when it was actually on Saturday. So, we didn’t do or say anything on Saturday. Saturday night my Mom was storming around the house and refused to talk to any of us. She was furious and wouldn’t listen to any of the reasons we had for our confusion once we realized our mistake. She decided that since her birthday was screwed up that no one should have birthdays that year. So, the next year none of us had birthday parties or gifts.
Another time, my Mom was explaining how there are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. My sister, who could do no wrong was described as an obvious leader because she was outgoing and bubbly. My Mom looked at me and told me I was a follower.
Now, most of you readers have never met me so it’s hard to describe how inaccurate my Mother’s opinion was. I’m not extroverted, like my sister, I’m quiet and thoughtful (hard to imagine, I know). I examine every angle of a situation before forming my own opinions. I don’t take anything at face value and never blindly go along with the crowd. Being called a follower by my Mother was actually really hurtful because I thought she understood me better than that.
I could list stories like that all day, but I don’t really want to pull all that back up. Hopefully those are enough to give you the idea.
With my Mother and me getting along as well as cats and dogs during my teenage years, I tried to spend as much time out of the house as possible. The more time I spent away from the house, the more my Mother was convinced that I was doing drugs. At that time I wasn’t. But it was a downward spiral, the more time I spent away the worse it got at home, the worse it got at home the more I wanted to stay away. That’s when I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and got into drinking and drugs.
It took getting married, joining the military, and years of time before I cleaned up my act and started to repair my relationship with my mother. Cat actually played a really important role in helping deprogram me, break the creepy holds my Mom had, and mold me into a more normal human being.
Around that time I found out one of the many inconsistencies with my mother, once I was out of her house she was totally cool again. She stopped treating me the way she did when I was a teenager. In her brain, once I was out from under her roof I was an “adult” and suddenly capable of making my own decisions. Rather than demanding obedience, I was an equal or something.
As is the way in our family, we never spoke about any of the previous difficulties, we just pretended that nothing had ever been wrong, everything had always been perfect.
Since miraculously being dubbed an “adult” by my mother things have been pretty smooth on the family front. No more arguments, no more problems, just smooth sailing. That would be comforting if there wasn’t a voice in the back of my head constantly reminding me that the perfect appearance is a thin veneer that covers a much more complicated relationship.
As difficult as things might have been, all of the experiences with my Mom and the places it brought me led me to being the man I am today. I’ve learned, adapted, and grown so much over the years. My Mother, for better and worse, has absolutely contributed to that growth.
So, thank you Mom for being the crazy, loving woman you are. Happy Mother’s Day.