Busy Day

Published August 27, 2016 by maryleesdream

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Big day today!

Oldest daughter turns 29 today.  She was born at 2:30 in the morning, after a quick and intense labor, only 20 months after her big brother.  He was the first relative I had ever met, and she was the second, and the first female.  When they laid her in my arms, we looked into each others eyes and I thought, “this one is like me”.  A girl.  She will feel what I feel, think like I think.  And it’s been true.  A link connecting me and my then unknown mother.  A link connecting me to all the women in my family, from the beginning of time.  Women, giving birth, just like me. Happy Birthday, baby girl!

My youngest is going back to college today.  My 4th and last child.  Last night we visited the Birthday girl at work.  She works at an outdoor bar in a fancy hotel.  It just so happens to be the last place Birthday girl saw her grandmother, my mother.

Going there brought up lots of memories of Mom.  Unfortunately, there are not many good ones.  That evening was tense.  Mom was always wired up when we were together.  Her discomfort was obvious.  She tried to hide it, but I could always tell. I’ll never know exactly what she was feeling.  I don’t know if she was framing me at this point.  We had a few drinks and I drove her to the train station.  I gave her money for the train ticket and she sent me $10 in the mail a few days later.  I was mad.  I didn’t want her $10.  She was my mother, and I had no problem paying for her train ticket.  Oh well. Birthday girl never saw her grandmother again.

I was thinking of Moms apartment in the city.  I’d never seen a place quite like it.  It was a studio, a small kitchen and a bed/sitting room.  It was cluttered, but pretty orderly.  Her strange artwork was all over the walls.  I guess you call them collages.  Pictures, or objects pasted onto different things.  She had bloody Kewpie dolls on a full length mirror, with wedding pictures and other things.  This was called, “The Happiest Day of My Life”.  It was about me, and her relationship with my father.  It was disturbing and terrifying.  There was also one with a bunch of rubber dildos, with penis rings in them. I don’t know what that was called.

Her bathroom door was covered with pictures.  I’m not sure what they were.  I did not like her art.  It was too scary, and IMHO, not very good.  I know it was her way of expressing herself, like writing is mine.

My brother has all of her artwork.  I don’t want any.  Anything she gave me, I either gave back, or if it scared me, I burned it.

 

This is something she gave me for my birthday.  Its photos of us, and my father.  It scared the pants off me, but I pretended that I liked it.  I hung it in my bedroom for awhile, but it creeped me out.  I turned it over and saw faint black marker on the back.  I peeled off a sheet of paper that was glued on, and she had written “dead babies in Potter’s field” and, “fucking fairy princess”.  I burned this one after that.  Later I read on her Facebook page that she called this piece, “watch your mouth”.  She never told me that.

When she gave it to me, I was in her apartment.  She pulled it out from under her bed, and spoke in a strange baby voice that she used sometimes.  Maybe it was one of her multiple personalities.  My heart was pounding, and I wanted to run out of there, but I stayed, and acted like this was a normal gift.

Ah, memories!

 

 

 

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4 comments on “Busy Day

  • Your mother was a damaged person due to the worst continued violation of her as a child, and her own mother’s inability to even note or care about what happened to her. Far from protecting your mother, your grandmother put her directly in danger. It is amazing though that your mom survived at all, and was able to function as well as she did. Women from her background often end up as prostitutes or addicts on the street.

    Your mother certainly had a lot of rage. among other things she was feeling, and women often are able to express or channel their rage through art that is meant to shock. The performance artist Karen Finley is one well-known example of this, and there are others

    It is too bad that you were a target of your mother’s anger. Obviously it is so wrong for her and your father to lie to their families about what happened to their baby – and you were correct in being upset about that fact. Perhaps in her mind, any circumstances that were better than hers as a child, are not worth complaining about or expressing unhappiness. Hence the “fairy princess” and “watch your mouth” comments. Although since she didn’t say “watch your mouth” directly to you, she must have known that was childish and would not make her look good. I wonder.

    It’s too bad that she paid you back for the train ticket. I hear you, but as a birth mother, I think that was her guilt rearing its very sharp, painful head. Reunion with my son has been less than 2 years. He and his wife sent some luggage, I wanted to return it out of anger (I didn’t). He cooked and fed us lunch at his house when we visited; I was very unhappy about that, feeling I don’t need his charity. They took us out to dinner on the last night; I was not happy about that, and even angry. None of this makes any sense, except that it is guilt telling me I don’t deserve any kindnesses from my son, since I gave him up, I left him, I deserted him. It is subliminal I think. And I knew these feelings were not appropriate, so didn’t express them, but kept them hidden. They are still there, though. So it’s sad that the $10 was seen as a refusal of an expression of love. I think it was a bid for self-preservation of a guilty conscience.

    It’s wonderful that your own daughter’s life is much happier than was yours, or your mother’s. You have succeeded, where your mother did not. As I like to say as of my own mother (who also suffered from madness), your mom did the best she could with what she had – which wasn’t very much.

    And there’s really nothing you could do to “rescue” her from this kind of pain – nor, I think, would she have wanted anything like that. From what you have described in your posts, your mom sounded like a “it is what it is” kind of person.

    Best wishes to the Birthday Girl, the student, your other 2 kids, and you and your husband!

    • Oh newandoldwp, your comments are always so insightful! They are my favorites.

      You have a way of expressing the thoughts and feelings of a first mother that helps me understand what my mother was feeling. I know our emotions sometimes don’t make sense, but we can’t help the things that we feel.
      I once told my mother that I was trying as hard as i could, in our relationship and she said, “so am I”. And I know she was. There was just too much damage done, to both of us.

      My mother definitely felt that i had no right to complain about my childhood, because compared to hers it was wonderful. But she felt compassion for her son when he cried because she left him. I became all that was bad, in her mind, and he was all that was good.

      My mother was always angry about gifts that I gave her. Your explanation seems correct. It still hurt terribly though.
      Tomorrow will be a year that Mom passed. I can’t say that I miss her, because she was not really part of my life. I miss what could have been, but will never be. At least I don’t have to try and hope anymore, and that is actually a relief.

      Thank you for your sweet understanding compassion. Adopted people are not usually treated with much kindness in this world.

  • I would love to hear more about the sources of the weird hostility adoptees get from bparents. My bmother is often, well, mean and critical towards me. I have been critical of the institution of adoption, I guess that seems ??? Elitist or ‘smarty pants’, I don’t know. I was adopted into an upper middle class family and I suspect she’d like to call me fairy princess too.

    • I wish I understood why my mother, and many members of my natural family are so hostile to me. I don’t understand it, and natural families never write blogs, or form support groups!

      I have 4 children, and can never, ever fathom treating them the way that I have been treated. I guess it’s guilt, but wouldn’t guilt make you sorry, not angry?

      I guess we were supposed to be happy, and if we were not, we were wrong. Makes no sense to me.

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