Posted by: geminigoddess | February 16, 2009

I Am My Own Mother…

Last year a lot happened in our house, to our family.  For one thing, I really and truly grew up.

I believe as adults, a lot of us often still feel that we want our mommy or daddy.  The idea that our parents will rescue or shelter us if we get into a financial, emotional, or other crisis, can be very comforting.  I did not feel sheltered or protected by my parents as a child.  There were times when things were okay, even good, but they were short lived.  We always spiraled down into a dysfunctional, chaotic, out of control mess.  I escaped as soon as possible and determined to live my life differently, to have some semblance of normalcy.  I wanted a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with a significant other.  I wanted to do things differently.  I wanted to change the pattern of my family moving forward into the future.  I wanted something better for my children.  I wanted to be happy.  I can say I have accomplished all of that, and it is a wonderful feeling.  But the little girl in me never stopped longing to be wanted and protected by her mommy.

After I got married, I moved with my husband half way across the country to start our new life together.  It was a fresh start, and it allowed us to craft the life, marriage, and family that we wanted together, without influence or distraction from my family and it’s constant drama.  Still, I missed my family, and time and distance tempered any irritation I felt toward them, so I was thrilled when my mom and stepdad started talking about moving out here to be close to us and the girls.  I’ve always felt that grandparent relationships are important to children, and I wanted Mirabelle and Hana to have a close relationship with their Mimi and Papa.  I dreamed of sending them off to Mimi and Papa’s house for a weekend of fun while Greg and I reveled in sweet alone time together, free to go to a movie and sleep in on a Saturday morning.

All that talk about them moving out here started about 3 1/2 years ago.  At first, we all looked into buying a house together, as a sort of investment opportunity, and as a way to give my parents roots here in Oregon.  That eventually fell through, which was just as well in the end.  After the house buying didn’t pan out, we talked about Plan B.

Plan B involved the following: either one of my parents getting a job here in Oregon; said parent would move into our house temporarily; the other parent would stay in Nebraska with my little brother and put their house on the market; after selling the house, they would use the profits buy a new house in Oregon, and have some money in savings to use while the other parent looked for a job in Oregon.  Perfect plan right?  Ah, but the best laid plans…

So one day I get a call from my mom who was screaming like a cheerleader from sheer excitement telling me to get a bedroom ready, ’cause guess who just got a job in Oregon?  That’s right, my mom.  Naturally, I was ecstatic, until she said, “We’ll be there in two weeks.”  Uh, what was that again?  Oh, just a little change in the plan, that’s all!  My 12 year old brother was coming with her.  Oh yippee!

Let’s just say my brother has issues, since my mom and I disagree about what those issues are.  My husband was already pissed.  You see, he could see the writing on the wall.  He sensed danger ahead.  But I, in my naivete, believed that we could and would work it out, we just had to lay some ground rules, right?  No biggie, we’re all adults after all.  What I failed to realize was this.  My mom still thought of me as her daughter first, as opposed to Greg’s wife and a mother, and as a result, she did not respect the boundaries of our marriage, family, and house.  She expected me to be her support system, and to take her side.  She was very, very wrong.

Let’s just say it ended badly.  There’s no point in regurgitating all the details here, and there are two sides to every story, but for my part, I came away from the entire ordeal feeling that my mother had betrayed me.  I no longer feel that I have her support.  I wonder if I ever really did.  I now realize that she is not a person who can give the kind of support that I expect from a mother, or even a friend.  I thought of her as my friend, rather than my mother, because our history is so fraught with dysfunction and hurtful times, and that was the best way I knew to incorporate her into my life.  I had come to a sort of truce with the past, but that truce was dependent on my perception of her willingness to change her behavior in the future.  When she came to live with us, I felt as if I were back in my childhood, with my mom wreaking havoc and destroying the peace I have worked so hard to build.  It brought up so many painful memories.  Memories that make me sad and angry.  Memories of betrayal after betrayal.

But, there was some good that came out of it.  It strengthened my marriage.  And I came to the realization that the little girl in me doesn’t need my mommy anymore.  I am a strong, capable, loving, selfless mother, and I can take care of that little girl.  I’m no longer looking outside of myself for the nurturing and protection I need.  I am my own mother, and I am okay with that…

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