As long as I can remember, I've been The Nice Girl. I know it seems contrary to everything I show you here, but if I had a dollar for every time I heard, "Oh, 123Valerie you're just the nicest person I've ever met," well I could retire to Spain right now with a matching set of houseboys named Paco and Taco.
It's partly because I am genuinely a good, nice person, but I also have a really hard time expressing anger. Thus, it is good that I am in therapy with Alice
Now, most of you know my Mom died in January, largely because I write about it all the damn time. But, I started this bloggy thing as a way to express my feelings, so talking about my dead Mom falls under that category.
What most of you don't know is that, while she was a smart, kind woman loved by many people--myself included--my Mom wasn't a very good Mom.
It probably started in the womb when she decided to keep smoking whilst pregnant: "What? You turned out alright. I was making sure you'd be a fighter. Besides, back then we didn't have the medical knowlege. No one knew that smoking hurt babies."
I was born in 1980 kids, about 14 years after
warnings showed up on cigarette packages.
Her refusal to stop smoking--the one thing she loved in this world--might have had something to do with the fact that she hated being pregnant with me. "Oh, I couldn't have been more upset to learn I was going to have you. I tried to get it over with as soon as possible. It was awful."
True to her word, she induced her own labor and I came about 2 months early. My bad, Mom. Sorry for being born.
Now, to be fair, she didn't lock me closets or whip me or call me names. She couldn't because she wasn't around. She left my two sisters and me when I was about two years old in the care of my Dad. She moved about an hour away and we saw her every other weekend until at the age of 17 I moved in with her after this girl
forced me into it.
There's a lot of back story that is important to me, but it probably matters not to ya'll, my pretties. What you need to know is that years later, my Mom calmly told me a little about her decision to leave her three daughters with a man she said she was terrified of.
"Your father was so irrational, and I was so worried that after I left he would hurt the horses to get back at me. So I sold them to a 4-H club at a complete loss. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to them."
In case you didn't catch that, kids, my Mom left her three daughters with a man that she felt was dangerous enough to harm animals, but kids? Well, heck, that's alright.
Now, at that point in his life, my Dad was a very angry man. Part of that stemmed from being in a loveless marriage with my Mom. He yelled a lot and did nutty things like tie dead kittens around the necks of dogs who killed them and sometimes he spanked us hard and shook us for effect. He's apologized, changed and he's such a softie now, you wouldn't even know. But, the fact is that he took on the care of three young daughters, and that is priceless.
My Mom, however, continued to live under an umbrella of delusion. A few years later, when I was just shy of five, my sister and I were molested for several months by the son of my Dad's live-in girlfriend. No one realized what was happening at the time, me included. Or so I thought.
When I was about 19 or so, talking to my sister, we put it together and told my Mom. Her response: "Well, I always thought something might have happened. You two were doing some really strange things at that time. I don't know why I never asked."
I don't either.
Again, good thing I'm in therapy. Alice and I spend most of our time trying to get me to admit I'm angry about these things. A parent's first job is to protect a child and instead of using her mother's instinct to do so, she ignored it. You better believe some serious issues resulted. I'm quite pleased that I'm a fairly well adjusted, plucky gal who is a productive member of society.
So, okay, you ask, "Why tell us any of this, 123Valerie?"
Well, my Mom's been visiting a lot lately. She's not been entirely happy, either--we're not sure why. She's been over at my sister's house breaking stuff--all things we cleared from her house after she died, such as a nearly new coffee pot, a mixer, some pictures, a radio, etc. Just random crap. All broken in various ways in the past several days.
She's also been to see me. A few nights ago, I sat down to do some writing, and I planned to work on a character based on my Mom--a good woman who made poor choices. I sat down to write about the horse episode, but before I could hit the first key, a coffee cup sitting on a table across the room suddenly flew over the edge, dropped on a carpeted
floor and shattered. Completely, inexplicably shattered.
My Mom was a serious coffee drinker, and while she loved java, she was not taking too kindly to having her mistakes used as character fodder for a novel.
So, much as in life, I conceded to keep the peace: "Okay, Mama. You win. I won't write it."
Then, I met with Alice for a session today. And she said that my Mom has no right to get mad at me, dead or alive, for the things she
did. Furthermore, as an important step in my healing process for what Alice calls complicated grief, which essentially means I'm going to be a mess about my Mom for a very long time, Alice said I HAD to write about it.
I'm doing this under doctor's orders, my pretties.
Do you think I should be worried that the refrigerator just came hurling at my head? I thought my Mom usually plays bridge with her friend Judy and Liberace at 2 on Thursdays. Damn.In the Comments section, tell me anything you want today. It's a sharing kind of afternoon.
Labels: Alice, good grief, Liberace, motor scooters, my Mom, tennis balls