I have mommy issues. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. I haven’t spoken to my mother, or any other member of my biological family, in about six years. The painful dysfunction that caused me to turn the rift into a permanent ravine left an intangible scar. It’s brought home to me often especially as I raise Mini-me.
I’m trying extra hard to not screw him up emotionally.
Mini-me was diagnosed with Aspberger’s Syndrome a few years ago. I still am not sure I agree with the diagnosis but I know that my child is not exactly ordinary. He has trouble understanding other childrens’ motivations and hates attention from other children. He get frustrated because he can’t translate his emotions into useful actions. Basically, he’s every adult male IT professional and engineer I’ve ever known except without the benefit of alcohol, sex, and illicit drugs to burn off steam.
But, when it comes to me, he’s incredibly tender. When he thinks I’m upset, he gently strokes my arm or shoulder and asks, in the most precious voice, if he can get me anything. This weekend I’ve been suffering from some pretty awful nausea and dizziness. As we settled into bed for a movie marathon, he arranged my pillows and tucked me in under the fuzziest blankets we have. I know there’s a beautiful, caring person growing up here. So far, despite having dysfunctional parents, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be a serial arsonist or cannibal.
So, mothering is a huge issue with me. On the day Academy Awards awards are handed out to moms everywhere, I cringe. No one celebrates me on Mother’s Day. It shouldn’t matter but it always feels like a slap in the face. I rarely have my guy on that Sunday, which is out of my control. Instead Mini-me has been encouraged to celebrate his stepmother. The intellectual side of my brain admonishes me for being petty, jealous, and putting stock in a Hallmark holiday. But the rest of me feels left out of a holiday that all the women around me seem to be enjoying.
It doesn’t help that, on that day, I remember my mother more than ever. With my mother, the good is deeply enmeshed with the bad. I might remember the boutique of lemons she sent when I got divorced and smile. Or I might remember her violent, unpredictable temper and still smile. Smiling is far easier than explaining your demented childhood. But whether I say it or no, I still think of my mom. The grief that goes with my memories is palpable.
And I don’t have my baby either.
You can see why tears are very common on that stupid, obnoxious, important Sunday in May.
For the past four years, I’ve had a mother-in-law who is kind and thoughtful and wise. She and her son have made me a part of their family. Being able to celebrate her as the Benevolent Mother in my life has taken some of the sting out. I suppose it is a matter of re-framing the situation. I’ve had mother-in-laws before. Two of them, in fact. Neither of them liked me very much. I guess I’m an acquired taste. Before the Bearded Gentleman’s Benevolent Mother, I never felt like I had a second chance at having a mom. The Benevolent Mother has given that to me. She’s also, as far as I can tell, the only person who consistently reads this blog. Now that’s a seriously mom thing to do.
When the tallies are made this year, I’m coming in with some positives and some negatives in the mom category. Some days I have tears and some days I have laughter. Some days I have both. Those are the best days. It’s been suggested that I just focus on the good things. But I’ve found that my particular grief doesn’t work that way. I do not have tunnel vision that allows me to ignore hurt. Right now, I’m finding solace in my weird, wonderful little boy. Right now he wants to snuggle with him mom and giggles while scowling when I use swear words just to tease him.
Too soon, he will become a teenager and find me impossibly embarrassing. He will go to college (preferably and probably) and lose himself in learning. He will find a love partner and maybe even start his own family. Eventually, I hope, even more than celebrating me on Mother’s Day, he’ll call me on a Tuesday night to catch me up on his life. I hope he knows I will always answer the phone.