You drive too fast! You drink too much! Why are you still single? Are you saving? Do you have a retirement plan? Those pants look better on you. Why don’t you study more? These are the things my mother said to me.
Each of those statements rang in my ears and resonated in my heart. What I actually heard was; “Why are you such a disappointment? Is that all you are going to study? Why aren’t you better at managing your money? Is there something wrong that you can’t get a man? You are such a failure that you can’t even drive properly or hold your drink! You are fat.”
What did I see? I saw my sisters married, both before me, despite the fact that I was older. I saw the weddings planned, the babies born, the time mom spent with them, I saw the special guest rooms going to them while I slept on the floor in the lounge, the extra, the misfit, object of pity. I listened as Mom fretted over them and their futures and their husbands and their babies. The worse I felt about myself the more I saw how much she loved them and how little she cared for me.
Funny how things can change perspective?! Bogged down as mothers and trying hard to keep their heads above water both my sisters confided in me that they thought Mom loved me more! HA, I laughed, are you crazy? That’s not true. But I stopped and asked why.
Well they said, Mom is always criticizing, I am never good enough, If my daughter walks at 10 months she is worried about what I am feeding her, if she eats all her vegetables then she is worried that she doesn’t colour in appropriately for her age, or say her R’s properly. Nothing I ever do is ever good enough! But she is always telling me about how exciting your life must be and how lucky she thinks you are and how many friends you have. REALLY? Hmmm, she is always telling me what an amazing mother you are, so patient and slow to anger and loving. And how you manage the kids and your job and your husband and that she couldn’t have done the same thing.
So the first time I realized that my mother actually loved me was when I was in my 30’s. Suddenly then I heard her remarks for what they were. Kind concern! A mother’s love! Never wanting anything bad to happen, no matter how small or big! Always wanting the best life possible for me! Now she can even yell, “You drive me crazy, I really hate you,” and I can smile because I know how much she really loves me! I sleep on the floor, happy that she has made a plan for me to be a part of the celebration, I go for a walk with her while the others bath kids and get supper, no longer an outcast but safe in the place that I belong, the only place that really loves me for me!