childhood

Things my mom never told me

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A long, long time ago I used the restroom in the Port Authority Station in New York city and I left traumatized. I was not traumatized because it was filthy or that I thought I saw a rat as big as my feet. I was not traumatized because the woman in the stall next door appeared to passed out.
I was traumatized because I heard a mother yell at her four year old boy that he would never amount to anything (I’m actually cleaning the verbiage up). She smacked him and his eyes left me breathless with sadness. I remember this as if it were yesterday. But I was quite young and still scared as to what my place in the world was.

I left that restroom despondent. How could the future survive? I thought about my mother in that moment. I hadn’t lived with her in a while. I missed her. And I shed a tear. Not because I missed her but because I knew she loved me. There were many encouraging words she had told me throughout my lifetime and there were also things she didn’t tell me that helped me. Yes, I am grateful for some things that she never told me.

She never told me I was stupid or wouldn’t amount to anything. As a matter of fact she had pinned all our hopes on my success and my supposed brain gifts. I was the first one to attend college based on so many sacrifices I didn’t know about.

She never told me that she went even more hungry than we usually were so that I could go to boarding school. I had no idea she survived on white bread and mayonnaise. I came to find out through others.

She never told me, on the phone while I was at boarding school, that she missed me so that I wouldn’t cry and feel guilty. I was her first-born and it pained her terribly to let me go. I only came to fully realize that when I had my own child.

She never told me what she wanted to do with her as an adult. She never told me what she wanted to once her girls were adult women. We had been her life. She raised two girls in extreme poverty who went on to be successful. What could she have become, had she lived longer?

The last time I spoke with her, she didn’t want to tell me she had yet again lost the cell phone I got her. She didn’t want to disappoint me. I almost never found out. Now, I only wish I could hear her again explaining how yet another phone was misplaced. I wouldn’t mind at all getting her a new cell phone and hear her say hello.

19 replies »

  1. very moving and honest and real, thanks for sharing such a great feeling. you point out how important it is to Appreciate each of our loved ones EVERY day. thanks for such a poignant reminder my friend. The energy of your mom’s love shines on thru you now. see, you are making even strangers feel good. thanks! be well and be proud of who you’ve become, momentummikey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was beautiful, and hit some nerves with me. My mother did actually used to tell me that I was ugly, that I was fat, that she was sick of me. Those words still sometimes ring in my head, even after 30+ years. I have always known that simply because a woman can give birth doesn’t make her maternal. My grandmother is the one who primarily raised me, and she is my mother in every way that counts. Your post made me miss her terribly, as she was truly one of the only people in this world that I know not just loved me, but would be there for me, no matter what. I wonder if people truly realize how terrible it is when you have a parent who, for lack of a better way to put it, is indeed the enemy. This is also timely, because here in NM, there has been a horrific news story about a 10-year old girl who was killed by her mother’s boyfriend and his cousin……and made even more sickening by the fact that the mother actually solicited men on online dating sites to rape her daughter. So yes, giving birth is in no way a guarantee that you will can be a mother, and being a mother to someone doesn’t mean that you had to have given birth to them. A very poignant post by you…….as you can tell by my reaction to it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In response to The Dwelling Place, as a mother who has done my best to fill the various roles you listed in the lives of my own daughters I might like to just add, in the case of mother as doctor, etc., “physician, heal thyself!” This is along the lines of my usual way of thinking that parenting is all OJT, there is no handbook or manual or any other standard training possible. Even if there was, it could never be one size fits all as each child is different as is each parent.
      In response to Mimi’s original post, it just provided another reminder to me to be thankful that my mom, as much as she drives me crazy, is still around, to both appreciate and complain about! I miss my dad in the same way you miss your mom, and I am reminded nearly every day of his many unique personality traits, several of which I mimic without even realizing.
      To both of you, no matter how bad a parent I or my mother might have been, neither of us ever said to our children that they would never amount to anything. It has always been our greatest wish and desire that they have all the opportunities that we did not, to be or do anything and everything they want in life. The purpose of their lives is to achieve to the level that they desire, not that their family or society desires.

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