Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mother's Day...

Yeah, I know I probably don’t have a whole lot of good things to say about this holiday. For those that have followed me a bit, this comes as no news. For those that haven’t, let’s just say me and my mother do not have a good relationship. I doubt we have a relationship. I will clarify it is not about the money. So fine, most of my debt (about 80-85%) is her doing, with or without my knowledge or approval, but I am really not bitter or upset about it, most of the time. What’s done is done. I’ve long moved on.

However, something I AM bitter of is our relationship, lack of thereof, and how her behavior has shaped me at an interpersonal level. I take full responsibility for who I am, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be upset at things that shaped me. At things she did that shaped me. And I won’t get into that today or probably ever, so let’s go back to Mother’s Day.

Up until this weekend, I thought nothing of it. I don’t call her on her birthday (I don’t even talk to her), so it just seemed logical to move along. While I was cleaning at my parents’ house on Sunday (I stay in my dad’s office/workshop/spare room), I saw a Mother’s Day giftcard in a bag. I opened and my dad had written something very brief. It said “from your children”, and only his signature at the bottom. Tell me if that’s not a very sad, sad sight.

Not sure if that is sadder, or the fact I felt sad for my dad. This division in the family, mostly caused by my mother, has to be really hard on him. He’s the kind of man who I’ll forever wonder why he wouldn’t move away, divorce or stayed away the few times my mother kicked him out. His sense of loyalty is definitely way past the point where it became a fault. And whether I like it or not, he loves my mother and misses her when she’s away. He talks to her every day. She’ll return today from an almost 4-month trip out of the country, and I can tell he’s excited. Even when they bicker a lot, he’s still happy (or non-caring, I can't tell).

Anyway, back to the issue! Mother’s Day. Right. So I saw the card, and that made me sad for my dad, instead of sad for my mother. I brewed the idea of getting her flowers, if just for my dad. It'll only cost me $30-40, and I won't even bother asking my siblings to contribute. That'll just add more undue frustration. I'll just send them "from your children" and have my dad get a vase.

I still have a lot, lot of reservations about this. Just to be clear… I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want a relationship with her. I don't want her to want to start talking to me; I'd actually really dislike it if she did. Even when I deep down do yearn for a family relationship like what other people have, I refuse to surrender to get it. And I'm ok with not having it. I'm not bitter or mad at her, but at what happened. Hate the sin and not the sinner, eh? At least, that's what I keep telling myself. I don't know if it's right or wrong to send flowers that are not meant to make her feel better. I know it's just superficial and may appear inappropriate and mean, but I don't really know what else to do about it. Also, I am not trying to appease her, and I don't feel like I owe her. I am doing what I think is right. I hope.


  1. I can see where you are coming from with this.
    Until "difficult" people in your life die, it's hard to get around dealing with them especially if you do want to maintain a relationship with someone you both are close to(or as close as your mom seems to be able to be to her spouse).
    Sending flowers to her may make your father feel better....sort of. It might make him feel worse as he knows deep in his heart that his wife's children don't really have a relationship with her.

    But what message does it send your mother...if she even notices them? You seem to be trying to figure that one out but there is no way to know what she will think of it....and more importantly, do you CARE what she feels/thinks of the gesture/
    You could just be wasting money on them, money that you will miss as you have a tight budget already, and it's money that might be happier spent on wants for yourself, like saving for a house, paying off student loans quicker or using for your vacation.

    I'd keep the money in my pocket and use it to pay down debts she caused. She made that bed so now she gets to deal with it by having the child she harmed financially use her resources to help herself.

    My thought, take it or leave it, is that you can make your father happier about the whole holiday without feeding your mother's ego or wasting money on her this way.
    Send your dad a card or letter and explain why Mother's Day is special to you.....because your mother chose your father to marry and have children with. Your mother chose him to be your father and truly, that is the best thing she ever did for you. She gave you your father and caused a relationship that you cherish!

    I had similar issues with my father that you have with your mother. It was always a ticklish balancing act for me until he passed.
    Take a page from me-you may think you are over your mom, but it's something that will continue to come up in your life as you age. You need to be prepared to deal with this issue in the future and sometimes when you least expect it.
    My father has colored all my male relationships through my life, whether I saw it at the time or not. You will have moments in life come out of nowhere when the broken relationship with your mother will come back to you long after she is gone.
    Because of your parent issues you will find she still controls what you do much as my father does me.

    It will help you to journal it or see a therapist now and again, or find a trusted friend who will truly listen to you talk things out.
    All just my humble opinion here and it's worth about what you paid for it. ;-)

  2. We have never celebrated Mother's or Father's day in my household. The one day per year set aside to express that is irrelevant to me, and my kids' dad and I have been divorced for a very long time. My kids (now grown) have always made me feel loved and appreciated, so I have long encouraged them to spend their energy on their stepmother and paternal grandmother, who both make a very big deal about these holidays. My kids do make it a point to at least call or text me good wishes for a happy day.

    I lost my mom in March. While it was expected (she had terminal cancer and was refusing any sort of treatment), it was still unexpected when it happened. We have always had a very difficult relationship at best, to the point the only way I could maintain my sanity was to maintain my distance. Much like what you are doing now with your mom right now.

    When my dad and then my sibling died, it was just me and mom. For 15 years it has been just me and mom. Most of that 15 years she was in good health and self-sufficient, but the 5 months before she passed away were hard for me. Surgery and then caring for her in my home as she recovered immediately thereafter. Weekly visits to check in her and make sure she was okay, taking her to the grocery store and to medical appointments. My husband was an absolute SAINT during this time. He took it upon himself to shoulder more of the burden of taking care of her as a way to take care of me.

    After feeling this sense of loathing toward her most of my life, I find myself feeling a little empty and sad this year about mother's day. It's not so much that I miss her as that the feelings are so complicated and the relationship could never be resolved while she lived. Now that she's gone, I'm left feeling a little wistful for the family or origin I never had. I do not think sending flowers will make you or anyone else feel better. Maybe after the debt is gone and you have more wiggle room in your budget it might feel like a meaningful gesture.

    Just my thoughts on the subject. I think you're actually a fantastic daughter.

  3. As you know, I am largely estranged from both of my parents. I have thought about Mother's Day, and decided that I am not doing anything. I have spent my entire life being told that I am supposed to lavish gifts on my parents because....well...they are my parents.

    Nope. My mother was not a "mother" to me. She largely left me to figure everything out on my own, as she was too busy watching tv to bother. And sending even a card this year seems disingenuine.

    I am tired of doing things for the sake of "have to." And I think if you do something for your the end you won't feel good about it either. If your father is the one who you want to celebrate...then certainly do so on Father's Day. And if you feel that he also played a motherly role to you, then get HIM a card for Mother's Day.

    I am pushing 40...and wish I had the strength many moons ago to stop falling prey to the "have to."

  4. Maybe since you're an adult, you can take your mother for what she is (a flawed person, as we all are) and appreciate what you can about her. Meaning, if you owe nothing to the vast majority of the people in this world, maybe you could at least rustle up some regard for the person who bore and reared you, shortcomings notwithstanding. You might want to find the maturity to be a big person and be generous in re-evaluating what you can afford (not cards, flowers, material goods) to give to your mother. Does it really cost anything to offer her your respect and good will? I bet you could find a way, if you tried.

    1. I don't agree with this at all. When are people going to stop insisting that you owe your parents something because THEY chose to bring you into this world and live up to SOME of their responsibilities? There are shortcomings, and then there is a mother like mine, who brought an abuser into my home, refused to work (and thus did not take care of her children) and abused her children. She did less than the bare minimum. In fact, it was my grandmother who fed and clothed us, so it's her I owe my life to. My mother really didn't give me anything. After my father passed away, my only good parent was gone.

      Sorry, but I don't buy the bullshit about how you owe parents something just because they're your biological parents.

      And Tanner isn't immature for disliking a woman who caused her a lot of suffering and problems just because that woman is her biological parent. Parents don't get special treatment after behaving like vile monsters. I separated myself from my mother as I would any undesirable human being.

      Hope that makes sense.

      And Tanner owes her mother NOTHING.

  5. I'm with 444 on this one... it does YOU no good to hold onto anger, bitterness, etc... I had a horrible childhood that I haven't even spoken about publicly, but we have to, and are ABLE to make a choice. Hold onto that anger, and let that bitter seed take root, or be the bigger person, forgive, move on, and fill our hearts with love for *everyone*. Even those who have wronged us over and over again... it's hard, but it's SOOO worth it! You're so very young, don't LET that bitterness and anger take root. It's not worth it.. i've seen it over and over again in others, and I feel pity for others who choose to hang onto that. :(

    1. For what it's worth, Tanner has been VERY forgiving to her mother, far more than I would have been. She has not brought charges against her mother for identity theft, and she has tried to continue helping her parents. She has been a better daughter than that woman ever deserved to have, and she has done far more, in my opinion, than I and many others would have.

      After moving out, I have not contacted my mother in any way and mostly ignore her calls. My life is very calm and pleasant without her in it and I don't feel anything toward her or miss her. Tanner has a sense of loyalty that I lack.

      While I was living with my mother, I tried to play the good daughter, running errands, trying to help out, even paying an insane phone bill. I did many things for my mother, and none were appreciated. I didn't even get a thank you.

      I don't think Tanner is bitter at all. I know, because I AM bitter, and I admit it openly. The best thing I can do for myself is just forget my mother's existence as much as possible.

  6. Don't get the flowers.

    I know it's hard on your dad, but the sooner he faces reality, perhaps the sooner he will exit his toxic marriage.

    You buying flowers just puts a band-aid on the problem. I think the best thing you could do as his child is allow him to see things as they really are.

  7. I say DO NOT get the flowers. I am on the end of the gift recipient and can tell you the worse Mother's day I had was when a very fake, not meant from the heart, just doing it to make themselves look/feel better, gift apperaed at my door.

    In my case it was from my Mother in law. I had been the mother of her grandkids for 5 years already and never once had she sent a card, text, email, call, anything/nothing on Mother's day (didn't even ask to talk to me when hubby called her). The year her daughter had a baby she got her a video camera to document her baby growing up. When someone (don't remember who) asked if she had sent me one when our first was born, I gues she felt bad saying no, and sent me one as a Mother's day gift. I knew it was solely to make her feel/look good and not at all about me and quite frankly it ruined the day for me. We already had a camera, we had plenty of pics, and not to mention my kids were 5 and 2 already!! If you don't care about me and haven't said a Happy Mother's day to me in 5 years let's keep that tradition going and leave me alone.

    So if you arent doing it with good intentions and love for the person who is gonna recieve the gift, don't do it. Trust me it's best for everyone.