Because Your Daughters Will Love the Way You Do…
A colleague whom I respect and like to consider a friend, though we’ve never met, just told me that her mother is losing her two-year battle with cancer. I didn’t talk to my mother during the last years of her life and I regret it. As crazy as she made me, as much as she made it clear that she really didn’t know me or, for that matter, didn’t care about me — or anyone for that matter except my oldest sister — she was still my mother. My friend confided in me that she almost wished she had the kind of relationship with her mom that I did with mine; making her death that much easier. Instead, she had a wonderful relationship with her mom. What I didn’t tell her is while my mother was extremely narcissistic and pretty much a child herself, it really didn’t make a lick of difference in the end.
When you’re a baby, a toddler and a young child your mother is your whole world. Sure, you may have kids you play with in the sandbox and, of course, there’s that mysterious man who makes cameo appearances in your life, and naturally any siblings, but it’s your mom that you count on for, well, everything. What’s more, she used her body to create yours. That’s some serious stuff right there. She gave you not only half of her genes, she may have given you her calcium, her eyesight, her hearing and more. And I don’t mean you inherited them from her. I mean you took them from her. I know a women whose first and only child took so much calcium from her body upon his birth that she lost every tooth in her mouth. Now that’s love: To be willing to give up an important part of yourself so that someone else can have it. If asked, I bet a lot of women would be willing to lose a limb in order to bring a healthy child into this world. I know I’m not one of them. It makes me sad that I’m not… but I’m not. And if I pretended I was something other than what I am, I’d be unhappy because I was lying to myself, to my man, and worse to my child.
I, unfortunately, lack what I call the “mommy gene.” Show me a baby and I’ll show you a little old man. Now if you show me a puppy, I’ll gush, not caring if the pup poops on my brand new Armani. I can’t explain it but I know it’s true. What’s weird is that my sisters don’t have that “mommy gene” either. Three women all born and raised to some degree in the 1950’s and early 1960’s and not one of us has a child. The thing in this life women are most proud of are their children… Apparently not in my family.
I regret not seeing my mother before she died. I was going through tremendous financial and emotional problems at the time. I could have called or written, but I didn’t. My mother had a way of sucking the very life out of me. No matter what I did, it was never enough… That’s if she even noticed at all. She had a way of assuming that it was her due. Except, of course, when my oldest sister came to town and bought my technology-neanderthal, parents a VCR or other such gift they would never use. She’d stay for 10 minutes and then return to the set of whatever TV commercial she was in town (town being Los Angeles) to keep watch. When in reality, she was headed to the Beverly Center to check out the new spring line of colors from the Chanel makeup counter.
I guess it’s a pack thing. Just as my dogs see our little family as a pack and accept that there’s an alpha and a beta dog (me and my boyfriend), my mother was part of my pack. And I shut her out of my life because she was sucking the life out me and I didn’t have much life in me at the time to give… Or did I? That’s what I reasoned; but the situation with my friend’s mother makes me feel ashamed of my behavior. I’d put up with being sucked dry for 40 some-odd years, I could have stood a few more.
The moral of this article is be good to your mother, even if she isn’t good to you. By doing so, you’ll be good to you and that’s what really counts.
Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger who thanks John Mayer for the headline. You can follow her on Twitter @boyarskykareni.