Positive Recollections – (a book tag…)

I’m it!  Here’s a fun little “tag” from Kate at “One More Thing“…

The game goes like this:
“Find the nearest book, turn to page 123, start at the fifth sentence and type out the next three sentences.”

Sounds easy enough….

I’m at my desk… in my little home office.. directly to my right, is a book shelf… full of old and new books of mine… ranging from “Calvin and Hobbes” to “Mark Twain collection” to gawd only knows what.  Nearest  at hand, though, is a book I read not too long ago… Read the rest of this entry »

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Forgiving Mom…

Linda Athis stumbled in here recently and commented on my blog… which led me to her blog called “Forgiving Mom” (http://forgivingmom.wordpress.com/).  I was amazed and intrigued by the many similarities she and I seem to have.  But, the one glaring difference, is that she has lost her mom… and she’s feeling the pain of that.  Still, she talks of coming to terms with things and forgiving her Mom before she died.  It made me wonder how I will feel when my mom is gone some day?  But, I still didn’t know if I felt the same “forgiveness and understanding” she wrote of…  

 But, between reading her blog… and all the soul searching  and reminiscing I’ve been doing this past year…  and talking to my good friend til the wee hours of the morning the other weekend…  and the post I wrote recently about Christmas and how BOTH my parents made sure we had good ones..  I realized something….

 I need to forgive my mom. 

I have said that I did, because I believe she is/was sick, so I could…  but… did I really?  I don’t think so. 

I know I have a lot of resentment bottled up in me towards her… I fight it all the time… She makes me angry… crazy…. hurt.  It’s hard to squeeze forgiveness in there. 

But… I think… I finally do.  I think I finally can. 

All this researching… reflecting… has taught me a lot.  Not only about myself… but also about my Mom.

 For years…  I’ve tried to make excuses for her… and tried to forgive her and love her in spite of so many things about her that still made me upset.   I wanted to but, I don’t think I really could.. or did.   

But, now… I see things differently for the first time.  I still think I had a right to feel the way I did towards her… but, I finally feel like I can start to let those angry and bitter feelings go. 

For years, I saw my father as the “good parent”… and the “martyr”.  I still see that… but, for the first time… I am really seeing that my mom not only TRIED her best to be a good parent too… but, that all in all… she really was a good mom.  It took two to make our family work at all… and my mother.. was also a “good parent” and “martyr”. 

She had her battles too.  When I think about just how much she was dealing with that I can probably never understand… and I think about my childhood and how she was… and still is with my brothers and our children…. I realize…  I was actually pretty damn lucky.  Some of the stories I’ve read about mentally ill parents were much MUCH worse than anything I had to deal with.  However, I bet my mother could relate to some of the worse case scenarios because of HER mother that was in and out of institutions her whole life.  What a rotten childhood SHE must have had.  I never really understood that as much as I do now. 

So, yeah… she was a religious nut and is a bit whacky at times.  But, you know what? She really did love me.  She really DOES love me.  And she tries her best to show it.  Looking back, I see that she really did everything she could to try to be a good mom and be there for us.  And she was.  Even with her illness and the religious BS… she was probably a better mother than a lot of women out there.  Losing touch with reality a little… and dealing with her past…. ??  That had to be hard for her.  No wonder she was/is a religious nut.  Maybe that was/is her saving grace?  Maybe without it, she’d be in much worse shape and need meds and hospitals too?  So, she didn’t always measure up.  So what?  Who does?  Ya know what?  I finally realize that she did damn good. 

Yes, I still look back at some things… and think, “that wasn’t right!”… “that shouldn’t have happened to me!”.   I still believe that.  I think I NEEDED to validate those feelings… and grieve a bit for myself…  but, I think more importantly I need to learn and deal with those feelings.  I feel like I finally can do that. 

When my parents fought (which they did a lot)… my dad always use to say he was only staying with her because of us kids.  She use to say she was only staying with him because her relgion didn’t believe in divorce.  Hearing this, use to make me wince and again think my Dad was doing something great for US…  but not her.  She was only there for religion….  

 But, looking back… I think I had this wrong.  Regardless of what she screamed at him…  she HAD to have stayed all those years for a number of reasons probably (as did he probably!)… and myself and my brothers just HAd to be one of her main reasons too.  I think, deep down, she knew my dad was a good father.  Maybe she didn’t want to admit it… because it was confusing to her since he was an atheist and all.  But she also didn’t want to deprive us of that.  I think she did want us to grow up with both parents… and that she DID have our best interests in mind.  Regardless of if she ever said it. 

Using “religion” as her excuse – was just that.  An excuse she could rationalize out and readily admit.   I mean, let’s face it… she has used religion for an excuse to support anything that she ever really did… or didn’t want to do.  I think, that had she REALLY wanted to get divorced and leave him… you can bet your bottem dollar that the Holy Spirit or God would have appeared to her and told her it was okay…. and that she SHOULD.  This never happened until we were all grown.  Why?  Because she didn’t really want to leave him!  Why am I just NOW figuring all this out?!

I am just now… at 41 years of age.. realizing that she also sacrificed for us kids… she also was a martyr for us… she also not only TRIED to be a good mom… but, WAS.  All things considered… she did pretty damn good by me…

And I’ve been a mean daughter…  Resentful.  Angry.  

I am so glad I am discovering these feelings before she’s dead and gone.  I am finally realizing how lucky I was/am to have her in my life.  I am finally realizing I need to let go of my anger and resentment towards her.  I am finally seeing her for the couragious person and loving mother she was/is…  

I need to tell her these things…  that she was a good mom.  I don’t think I’ve ever really told her that and meant it.  I really mean it now.  I need to tell her.

Deviled eggs, it is….

deviled eggsI‘m not sure how I wound up needing to make and bring deviled eggs today to a little party we are going to at our friends home, but I did.  Oh yeah..  I remember now.. I ASKED what I could bring and was basically assigned these.  I sort of tried to weasle out of it, and offered up a couple other suggestions… but, nope.. she reeeeeally wanted deviled eggs. 

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with deviled eggs.  And, they are certainly easy enough to make.  Hell, I even like eating them once in a while.  I just don’t like making them, or bringing them to places. 

You see, this is typically what my mother makes and brings to all social functions.  She will bring deviled eggs, and a pickle tray (which is often a can of olives LoL).  Nothing wrong with that either.  They are one of the few things my mom can actually make really well.  As I told my son after a really bad meal at Gramma’s once (when he asked, “what was THAT that grandma made???”) – My mother (or his grandma) is a lot of things, but a good cook ain’t one of them.  🙂

So, really – it’s not about the eggs…  it’s just the old, “I don’t want to be like my mother” issue that is coming into play.  Which, if you think about it, is a really stupid reason to not want to make deviled eggs when your friend asks you to.  Which is why I didn’t tell my friend “no, I won’t make those”.  It’s silly.  I know that.  I am not like my mother, and making deviled eggs doesn’t make me like her.  So, why then am I dreading going to the kitchen and making them, and then bringing them to this party?? 

I sort of feel sorry for my mother and I…  not having the typical bond mother’s and daughter’s have. I mean, I love my mom… I know she loves me…  but, we have never had that bond and probably never will.  She was not the one I turned to for comfort or for help with problems.  Not that she doesn’t mean well…

*sigh*  So hard to explain… Even when people KNOW my background they often look at me with this chastising look that makes me feel guilty.  Worse yet, even though I obviously know my own background and reasons… I still feel guilty about this even without any chastising looks. 

My mom will often make comments how she always wanted a daughter… so she’d have someone to be friends with… do things with… and then she’ll either make a joke about how instead of that – she got me…  or sort of just look at me… wistfully… looking for a sign that I want that too.  I don’t offer up any.  We will never have that kind of relationship. 

We do have a relationship… and I feel like we are pretty close… there are some things I really admire about my mom… and I know there is love there from both sides.  I believe we are lucky to have that – as there were times I thought about removing myself completely from her life.  I’m glad I didn’t and that we have at least the relationship that we do.  But, I do know what she means.  And, I do wish we could have had, or could have now, that type of relationship… but, it’s just not going to happen.  We are in two separate worlds sometimes.. and we just don’t see eye to eye on most anything.  I wish that was different….  especially now that my Dad is gone… I really would love to have the kind of mother-daughter relationship most of my friends have.  But, I don’t see that realistically ever happening

It’s all I can do to bring myself to make deviled eggs today…   but, I will.  

~smj 

“Surrendered” Wives ??

While visiting the blog “The Journey Out“, I happened to come across this disturbing article posted in “Feministing.Com” on a book called, “The Surrendered Wife”. 
Here’s the opening on it:

Remember that book, The Surrendered Wife, that came out a while ago and got all sorts of press because it basically told women that the key to happiness in marriage was to shut-the-fuck-up?Well it seems that some folks are taking it wa-ay seriously.

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in my last post – about growing up with double standards that were reinforced by my father, my mother, and the church. 

Another really sad thing is, I think this is the book a few of my close girlfriends (who fairly recently became serious Christians) were reading and getting in to.  They didn’t discuss it too much with me, because they knew I wasn’t into religion and thought I would “poo poo” it.  Man, were THEY right! 

What little I just did learn about it was appauling!   I can’t believe this book would be so popular today, and feel sorry for all the young girls who will be taught their place in society by their own parents and church with the assistance of it. 

I also found this article on it by Leanne Bell.  I am not familiar with who she is, but, I liked her article on this book .  The following is an excerpt from it:

It’s a shame Mrs. Doyle thinks women can’t balance a chequebook and be great lovers too. It’s a shame that she believes holding an opinion and voicing it will ruin her marriage. It’s even sadder to think that she believes going back to the fifties when women had to work too hard for too little respect is the answer.

The answer is not to surrender to anything. The answer is to fortify yourself. Be the strongest, most vibrant invidual you can be. Embrace your sexuality and enjoy it, don’t consider for a second abdicating the wealth of your personality and the value of your character in order to maintain a facade of a marriage to a man who doesn’t appreciate what he has. And don’t dare teach your daughters to grow up with such low expectations, such little self-esteem, such dismal hopes for happiness in marriage.

Mrs. Doyle doesn’t understand that surrendering your body amounts to prostitution, that surrendering your autonomy is as good a being in prison, and that surrendering your mind is slow, sure, mental death.

Amen Sister!

~smj