Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Else Would Do This To Their Teenager?

My DH and I spend so much of our time thinking about our kids, talking to them, and talking to each other about them.  And even though we are in our late 40's we clearly remember what it is like to be a teen--that it is not easy-- and just the other day I had a empathetic discussion with our 15 year old, who was sharing his thoughts.  Talking to our kids and to DH about things that are teenage-realm related has brought up many memories of mine that I must write about to help process.

From 7th through 12th grade I went to a small, private school (and my NM sent me there as a status thing for her, but I am very glad I went there as it is part of who I am and I still have close friends all these years later).  At school we wore a uniform of a plaid skirt and a white, button-up top.  It was an all-girls school.  Occasionally there'd be a dance.  My NM was very strict (she was the ruler in the house and had a long-term boyfriend and after years they eventually married the month I turned 18) and I didn't socialize on weekends as much as most teens did.

When I was 15 or 16 there was a fall dance and my brother may have driven me to the school dance and it was casual, mostly hanging out with my friends and guys we knew that were invited.  I think that my brother hung out too as he was fun and my friends liked him platonically and vice versa.  Later, around 11:00 p.m. or so my NM showed up, which I think was a surprise because I don't think it was set up that she'd pick me up.  And fortunately, at this time there were NOT a lot of kids left at school.  I was in the parking lot--along with just a girlfriend or two.

My NM hops out of the car DRESSED IN MY SCHOOL UNIFORM.  And as if she is acting in a play she says loudly, but to no one in particular, "HI! I'm here for the dance!" and she is sort of jumping up and down in a perky way, playing her role of a school girl.

My NM was 35 or 36 years old at the time and was a successful (self-employed) business person..  She did not do drugs or alcohol.  It was fucked up and freaky.  I can't remember if I went home with her or if my brother was still there and I went home with him.  I do know that I did not react and left very quickly on the down low.  I do know that it was not discussed after that night or if it was then it was brushed off saying that she was just having fun and I never confronted her about it being inappropriate.

I cannot EVEN imagine sitting home as the parent and deciding to "have fun" and go into my child's closet and try on her school uniform and then drive to a school dance (mind you the school was not in the neighborhood--it was a 25 minute drive at best) dressed up in my child's school uniform. 

It is so apparent now how this is an example of how she did not think of me as a separate person.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Summer I've Only Dealt with What Matters Most

Since my last post after I was laid off from work I've been on an awesome road trip, another family trip to see many nice in-laws, visited my 90-yr-old GM for 5 days, doing things with the kids every day, and looking for the right job for me.

What I have not done is communicate with my mother.  I know she thinks I am the most horrible daughter in the world.

After I superficially visited with her in April when I took my two youngest children to see GM, as I suspected, she assumed that since we visited we would once again talk on the phone and I'd be her dutiful daughter and engage in conversation and insist that my kids call her on a regular basis, which of course would lead to her asking again for me to do the right thing and have the grandkids visit her.

Since April she's emailed me in May pointing out that she had not heard from me, nor rec'd a call from the kids and has no idea what she has done to have me avoiding her.

In the beginning of the summer my family and I went on a road trip and I emailed photo of the kids to her.  It was my b-day around that time and she left me a vm wishing me a nice day.

In July she left me a vm that was lots of sentences about how she had only received the one photo, has not heard from the kids, suggests we go camping near her and maybe camp together (!!!), thought that the kids could call her on Sundays as she had suggested, etc.  No return call from me.

A few weeks ago she called and I let it go to vm.  I have no idea what she said as I have never once listened to it.  The older I get, listening to her voice does not get easier.

Earlier in the summer when we returned from vacation there was a b-day card waiting for me.  My NM never says she loves me and never writes it.  When I mentioned to her on the phone this past March that she doesn't even like me, she made no effort to correct me.

It's so evident in the b-day card she selected that all that matters is "the rules" on mother/daughter roles.

On the front of the card it is printed:

Love You, daughter (with flowers and rhinestones on front)

On the inside it is printed:

I loved you before you were born.  And I'll love you forever and a day.

That's how it is with a mother and her daughter.
Happy Birthday

And then she signs it: Mom

I think it would have been OK if it stopped before "That's how it is with a mother and her daughter".

because we are not your middle of the road mother and daughter.  This is saying to me that because of biology a mother loves a daughter.  I bet the words on this card would mean something different to a hundred other daughters.  Oh, I could go on and on.

Deep down inside this week I have been feeling guilty that I have not sent her any photos or any updates of what we're up to.  I think it would be easy to keep us artificial and email photos of the kids.  But then the requests and cajoling for them visiting (without me) would begin.  I have not shared that I am job hunting because she would state that then I have the free time to visit with the kids.  I do talk to my grandmother every week and even stayed with her in July, and I know that my GM relays who she talks to to my NM.

So that is where I am.  Close to landing a job, and starting to feel the stirrings of having to once again address with my NM as to why I am just not that into her.