Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Woman Within

For the past few months, I've been doing some soul searching.  Trying to discover who I am, my role, my purpose for being on this earth.  I've been trying to break out of my shell and reinvent myself.  Try new things, take a few risks, put myself out there, and make myself a little more vulnerable to what's going on around me.  

I've reached out to make new friendships, and let a few start to sizzle out.  I've began looking in to my motives behind the desperate need for acceptance, to fit in, the have that close knit of friends I've always wanted.  

I've examined and compared the woman that I am and the woman that I want to be.  And, I can honestly say at this very moment in time that the two aren't very far away from each other.  I am happy.  I am strong.  I've discovered a lot about myself that I can embrace and accept and develop and grow.

Yet, I still have a desire to keep going, keep growing, keep developing...and I don't know if that will ever change about me.

Over the past couple of months, I've found myself opening up to a couple of people...letting them really know everything about me.  The good.  The bad.  The scary.  The embarrassing.  The shocking.  The real me.  I've shared things with them that I haven't really ever told anyone else.  I've found myself reaching out to them in my time of need, in times where I just need SOMEONE who will listen.  And, thankfully, they've let me in, been that ear, and also the voice of reason.

And, at the heart of all this self discovery, and acceptance and embracing of myself, I've let one thing fester, refusing to confront the one thing that motivates my doubt, my fears, and my sadness.

That would be the relationship I have with my mother.

Yesterday was her birthday.  And, yesterday morning, I picked up my phone, found her number,  entered the words "Happy birthday" in to my text screen, and hit send.  A few minutes later, the response of "Thank you" came back.

And that was it.

That was the start and the end of the conversation that I had with my own mother on her birthday.  And, it has caused me to be tangled up in guilt and shame.  Who treats their mother that way on their birthday?  It doesn't matter what hardships we're currently going through, or feelings that I'm currently having, how do I let a day like my mother's birthday slip by without so much as a quick phone call to say "Happy birthday, Mom. I love you"?

I guess I do.

My passive aggressive way with dealing with everything that's going on inside of me.  Taking the advice that I've received by the few people I've consulted about my inner issues, and morphing it in to a childish act of ignoring rather than facing.

Because, you see, over the course of the past couple months, with all my soul searching, with all my vulnerability, with all the examining of my motives and actions, I've discovered that the relationship I have with my mom is at the heart of everything.  It has shaped who I am, who I want to be, and how I am currently living my life.

Yet, the one person who should hear what I have to say, to listen to my concerns and my issues, and be the receiver of what's really going on inside just happens to be the last person I feel like I can open up to.

And I know it's because she's a person I love very much, is very important to me, and I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her how I really feel.

So, instead, I stay silent.  Bottle it up.  Try to ignore it.  

But, no matter how much I try, I can never really move on without letting it out.

Over the course of my life, my mom was always the person I went to in a time of need.  She would listen, give me advice, help me face my own mistakes and learn from them.  Very similar to the way I parent my own children.  Teaching them to stand on their own feet, but letting them know that I'm there to catch them if they fall.  I'm there to kiss any boo-boos that are inflicted either physically or emotionally.  That I will stand by them in their decisions, offer my perspective, but ultimately let them follow through even if I know they may fail.  Because, sometimes failure IS an option in order to succeed.

And, I always LOVED that relationship that I had with my mom.

Yet, that part of our relationship died a long time ago.  The woman that would listen to me, support me, encourage me, and lift me up when I was down disappeared.  And, what replaced that relationship were bitter feelings of resentment, abandonment, and loneliness.

I never confronted the issue, however, I just allowed it to die.  Allowed the relationship to fade.  And, even tried to pretend that I was imagining it, that I was overreacting, or that I was being selfish for being an adult woman that still needed her momma when my mom had other children that needed her.

I vividly remember the day of my college graduation. The day that my mom hugged me and told me how proud she was of me.  And, the flood of emotion and happiness that gave me.  I wanted nothing more than for her to be proud of me, to show her that I managed to overcome all of my obstacles, and follow my dreams.  

I vividly remember the day I gave birth to Jelly.  Having her in that delivery room calming me down, rubbing my back, telling me everything was going to be OK.  And the minute Jelly was born, her reaching down, hugging me, and telling me how proud she was of me.  She had tears in her eyes, and I could just feel the pride beam off of her...I had brought another grand baby in to the world, and she was there to be a part of it.

And, then, that's pretty much the last of those heartwarming stories I can share.  

A few years later, everything changed.  Maybe I changed.  Maybe I pushed us apart.  Maybe I was the one that let our relationship fade. 

But, now, I avoid speaking to my mom.  Which is hard and horrible to admit, but it's the truth.  I avoid speaking to her because there is only ever two topics of conversation: Her health and the foster kids.

That's it.

No matter what the original topic of conversation... it ALWAYS quickly moves to one of those two subjects.

I can call and say:  Hey Mom, guess what?  I've decided to go back to school and get my Master's degree.

And, I can bet my bottom dollar that the response would be:  That's nice.  So, guess what happened today when I took {insert foster child name} to their doctor's appointment?

Or, I can call and say:  So, Mom, I'm having a really hard time dealing with [fill in the blank]

Her response:  You'll be OK.  So, [foster child] might be leaving in a few days.

And more recently:  Hey Mom, I'm really stressing about [whatever the situation]

Her response:  OK, so I've been feeling really sick lately, and I'm having a hard time staying awake.

Complete deflection from me EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.

I honestly can't tell you the last time I tried to talk to my mom about a situation and actually managed to keep the conversation focused on me for more than maybe 2 minutes.

And, I now know, that's the reason I have the feelings I currently have and just refuse to confront them.  Because, honestly, I doubt that they would even be heard.  

I love my mother.  With all my heart.  I just have been trying to learn to accept and understand that our relationship just isn't the same, and probably won't ever be the same.  The woman that I counted on for EVERYTHING isn't the same person anymore.  She is the that person for the children that are currently in her house.  They are her top priority.  They are numero uno in her life.

Apart of me has reasoned with the fact that maybe she feels like I don't need her anymore.  I have a great life, a fantastic career, three beautiful children, a great man by my side... and maybe she feels the same way I do, that they all come before her.

But, that's not true.

I want a mother.  I want a grandmother for my children.  I want to be able to pick up the phone and tell her about MY day and hear words of encouragement, praise, advice.  Does a person ever really outgrow those things?

I find myself being the person that I am, because of those feelings that I have towards my mom.

I am involved in EVERY aspect of my children's lives.  I want to be the one they come to, talk to, open up to.  I am there at every ball game, every event, volunteering for anything I can do that benefits what they are involved in.  

Every day, I ask my kids how their day was, listen to them, and let them share and vent and get excited about EVERYTHING.  

And, I find myself telling them constantly to tell me if they EVER feel like I'm rejecting them or that their priorities aren't important to me.  It's something I want to know.  Because I NEVER want my children to feel the way I feel.

It breaks my heart that only one out of my three children have a strong relationship with their grandmother.  Yet, it's the truth.  Two of my children never ask to go to Grandma's house.  They never ask to go spend the night, or go for a visit.  And, both of them, if given the choice, would rather stay home when I do go.  


But, it is what it is.

I know that there's nothing I can do to change it.  I've put myself out there a few times, but it hasn't helped. It hasn't changed anything.  And the sad truth is, I don't think it ever will.

I just have to keep going on with my life, doing what I can to make sure that my kids will ALWAY be my top priority... no matter how old they get.

It is now the woman within me.  To learn from my own life, and make sure that I make the necessary changes to ensure that they NEVER feel the way I feel at this moment.  

When my kids are grown, I want to be the first person they think of when they need someone to talk to.  When my kids have kids, I want my grandbabies calling me every weekend asking if they can come stay with me.  I want my kids to know that everything they do with their lives will be important to me.

And, that especially holds true for Peanut and Butter.

I don't ever want to get to a point where they feel like I favor Jelly more, or that she's more important to me because she's the youngest and still living at home.  No matter where they are, what they're doing, I want to be involved.  

I love my mother.  I really do.  More than words can describe.  I am happy that she is finally healthy and overcome a horrible disease.  I am happy that she found happiness by becoming a foster parent.  I am happy that she has a strong relationship with my two younger siblings, and two grandchildren that she now has full custody of.  

And, nothing will ever change those feelings that I have for my mother.

But, what I've come to learn by the advice I've received, the situations I've been through recently, is that I've done all I can.  I can't dwell on this anymore.  I just have to move on, let it go, and focus on my family and my happiness.

I hope she had a good birthday.  I know she was surrounded by the people that she loves.  I know it wasn't right to send a quick text... but, regardless of the childishness or passive-aggressive approach, it was a way of telling her that the quick, nonchalant way of me sending my blessings is how I feel EVERY DAY.

I hope that one day, she understands the pain that I feel.  I hope that one day we can put all of this behind us.  But, right now, I am going to be the woman that I am...the woman I want to be... and live my life the best way I know how without letting the pain get to me anymore.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what's on your mind - I love to hear from you!