Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mother's Approval

I'm thinkin' that this post could get pretty personal (and possibly whiney) so if you're not up for it, please pass this one by.

My mother and I spend quite a bit of time together. She watches my children on Saturdays when Eric goes to work in the afternoon, and until I get home shortly after five. Saturdays is the only day I work. We talk on the phone at least once a week, depending on how much she's working, and if she can get ahold of me (dial-up).

She loves me. I love her.

My mother always kept her children's faces clean, and our hair combed, and we always went to church on Sunday. She always told us "You can be anything you want to be."
I never believed it.
I really wonder if she even believed it.
She dominated her children - physically, emotionally, and probably intellectually.
She's one of these people that have the exceedingly irritating quality of being the first to gasp at the atrocity of another's sin (such as withholding a lollipop until a kiss is received) and then do the exact same thing. And shout out a denial when you point it out, and with more affront than if you said to the Queen that she had poor table manners.
She's trying to understand radical unschooling.
Well - let me take that back. I often wonder if she's just going through the motions, and not really trying to understand it at all.

Herein lies my complaint.
I take it as "my mother has no interest in understanding me." She isn't interested in the scars of my childhood. I thought not long ago that we were finally getting some where - somewhere that I could start to forgive and forget some of the worst of them, but after a few confessions, later my mother acted like the scars upon her spirit that she had told me of had no impact, whatsoever. Like I had made it up. And it wasn't in a defensive forget-I-ever-told-you way, but in a "why on earth would I say such a thing?" way. Like the tears were a pretense.
So I am left even more befuddled than before. And a bit angry.

Tonight when I got home from work (she watched my children at my house) she was playing Solitaire here on the pc, and I offered to show her mine and my sister's blogs. She skimmed briefly over a few pictures on mine. My sister didn't have any up into her blog yet, so she wasn't interested. (Never mind that we had spoken just yesterday how funny, witty, and sharp my sister is.)

I felt compelled to say "I put in counters in my blog at the beginning of the month in May. I've had lots of people come read what I've written. I've had over five hundred visits since then." (none of them my own.)
"Who visits?"
(shrug) "Just people. Some people like the way I write. I've even had compliments on it."
"Hm," ... in a "huh, imagine that" sort of way.
That was it. There was nothing more.
This huge part of who I am - and a place where I feel competent and able (it doesn't matter if it's warranted or not, I still feel good about it most times) - and it doesn't even merit a question of "what do you write about?"

I almost said to you, Dear Reader, that I don't know why I felt compelled to boast to her. But I do. I was seeking her approval. Even better - her admiration. I was hoping for some real life evidence of "You are something", instead of just hearing what has always felt like platitudes - never compliments out of her own mouth, either, always second hand.

I was wondering if I was trying to get back at her disinterest in me by writing on this subject here - a place I know well she will never visit.
I don't expect her to be sorry. I don't want remorse, really, either. I just want an acknowledgment. I just want her once to look at me, and say, "aah, I see."
You came out of it well.
You are amazing. You are special.
You are something.

Why is it so important?


Aubrey said...

For what it's worth, I think you are amazing, special, important and a exceptional writer to boot.

Stephanie said...

Thanks Aubrey. I think you're amazing, special, and important, too! (and looking forward to your blog.)

Ren said...

Because it is.
And if it doesn't come from our mothers, there is a gap somewhere.

But we can fill it ourselves I believe...eventually. And my mother learned to ask forgiveness for the scars she created (inadvertantly, but scars nonetheless) and celebrated not only her children, but her grandchildren constantly.

Yes, it feels good.

But if she can't learn that, then celebrate your children until those wounds heal. Because they will. And giving them the childhood you wish you had, will heal a lot.

I love your writing.

Kim said...

I feel your pain, literally. My heart ached when I read this post.
I will respond to this one also, if you care to read it over at chez nous.

whimsigal said...

My sentiments will only be echoes of what has already been expressed here before me but you are everything you described. Wanting your mother's acknowledgment doesn't change what what you already are. She is your mother and good, bad, indifferent, she is an important figure in your life and you want her to recognize who you have become. It may be hard for her to look at your success without seeing something within herself as a failure. This post poked me in the eye with it's intensity and I loved it. You are incredibly talented, whether your mother says so or not!


Stephanie said...

You are all very, very sweet and I thank you for that.
Much love,