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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I have a tendency to unconsciously appropriate other peoples' affectations, leading me to say things like y'all.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Across the map

I've decided to do write about something I've avoided writing about: my mother*.

To be frank, I've been concerned that regardless of how I express myself, she will launch some sort of comment based attack that will be hurtful and juvenile. However, the longer I refrain from putting my thoughts down, the more angry and violated I feel. I started this blog as a way of understanding things in my life; not only as a chronicle of current events. I introduced my mother to it because I thought it would be an easier way for her to actually know me, which she really hasn't done before. As such, on all fronts, it seems remiss to keep out one of the most significant and confusing changes in this last month. I won't be a prisoner in my own life anymore; hoping that if I keep quiet, I can keep things from becoming complicated. I can't not address this thing with my mom, even in the abstracted, inarticulate way I'm sure I'm about to.

You'll have to excuse how disjointed my thoughts are. I know I have feelings about all of this, but I really haven't been able to organize them well. More than anything else I feel disappointed. I'm sorry to discover that my mother really is the person I always thought she was. For me that dramatically reduces, if not altogether eliminates, the possibility of a relationship in the future.

Every day I expect to find an email from her, but not because I want or need one...just because I think it would be the right thing to do. It's been two weeks and there has been no acknowledgement on her part that anything is wrong**. She hasn't once, even during the fight itself, owned up to the fact that she started something (without incitement) that killed off the sappling of a relationship we were trying to grow***.

Since our fight, my mother has sent me two or three one-liners in response to things she's read here on the blog. "Congratulations on your new job. Good luck." "Tell Sophie mimi loves her pictures." I find myself wishing she hadn't even bothered. In the course of my life, I can't remember a single occasion on which my mother has actually taken responsibility for her actions. Whether with lies or with ignorance, she's always managed to avoid accountability. She has repeatedly asked me to cover for her and lie for her. I am through taking up her end. I'm done picking up her pieces. I don't think she realized when she started this recent blow-up that she'd caught me at a time in my own life when I wouldn't be willing to take blame where it wasn't rightly warranted. I can only guess that she thought it would be like any prior incident: she fucks up and I apologize.

It's not going to happen.

The saddest part in all of this, of course, is Sophie. Now, on the one hand I don't feel like she needs my parents in her life, but I've certainly never wished them out of her life either. As far as I'm concerned, it's always been up to them. But they're really lazy grandparents. They don't visit her. They don't call to talk to her. They gush about how much they love and miss her; they wait for me to fulfill their needs and when I don't they berate and malign me for it. As far as they're concerned it's my fault that they don't have a relationship with their grand-daughter. Because I don't force her to talk on the phone when she doesn't want to (which she rarely does, but is getting better at). Because I forget to call at all sometimes, since I have to sprint from my office to her school and then negotiate the subways with her and all I have in mind is to make her anything for dinner and pass out at the end of the day. Because I don't send her drawings to them. Because, because, because. All I know is that she has three other grandparents and not a one of them is insecure about their place in Sophie's life. Josh's parents do what they have to to make themselves present even from Tennessee and Washington. John's mom flies up to New York from Georgia every few months to spend time with Sophie. My parents haven't come up since last July and even then it was only my mother, and even then it was only because my brother was winning an important award in graphic design.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not unsympathetic. I understand that it's hard for my dad to get away from his business. I understand that money is really tight. There are dozens of excuses and reasons I'm willing to understand, but then why can't the same kind of slack be given to me? Do they really think it's easier for me to pick up and go to Florida? Until John came into my life I'd been a single mom on a single small income for nearly two years. What were they expecting of me? And the last time I got myself really excited and worked up to visit them (on John's suggestion when we first met), their behavior was abominable.

Even as I write this I feel so irritated. It's not anger's frustration and annoyance that this is the woman (the family) that I came from. And that the normal means of communication have never applied. I don't know. I don't know what I can say that will help me to figure out the puzzle. My mother is such an entirely different animal. I've always felt that there was something in this life that is missing for her...that isn't enough...and that she's been waiting for me to fix it; to fill it in. I can't. It's not even for me to do.

Regardless, the impact at present (for me and mine) is minimal. I can't remember a time when I've emotionally needed**** or wanted my parents in my life...but that is an entirely different and far more painful story. When my brother and I were children we frequently played games in which our parents had died and we were orphans left to figure out life for ourselves. I remember feeling really free. I think about that and wonder: who does that? What kids have such morbid fantasy play? And enjoy it?

I may be a terrible person. I may regret my choices when I'm older and my parents are gone. But I'm willing to accept those things because I know that the time my parents were absent from my life (roughly a year) was the happiest, lightest time I've known.

I would never come in the way of a relationship my parents chose to have with Sophie, but I have to make choices for myself and my own well being based on her happiness. My parents are like poison. Like kryptonite to my supermom.

That's just not okay.

*Although this post is about her and the fight that she started, my father, inevitably, is the silent partner behind the deal. He is a different story that I'm not ready to tell yet.

** Remember when I mentioned in a previous post how I'd specified she shouldn't write to me again if all she had to offer were unkind words? What would you presume from her silence?

***There may yet be a few crappy metaphors in this one, brace yourselves.

**** I've hoped, like any other person with a beating heart would do. Who wouldn't rather have a family than not have one?


Anonymous amanda said...

I'm a random person who stumbled across your blog, but I have to say, I think if not every kid, then at least many children have those fantasies. Every kid whose ever seen Oliver (& Company?), Annie, or even Newsies. Every kid whose parents discipline them. I think it's just not talked about until people are in therapy trying to purge their guilt for experiencing basic normal functions of the kid brain.

Also, you and your daughter are beautiful together (and not together)!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Irina said...

Thanks Amanda! Both for your comment and your compliment :)

9:34 PM  

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