I love you, but you ruined me. You and dad forced me to become an adult when I was just nine years old. I know you didn't necessarily think that's what you were doing. You thought you were saving my soul when you pulled me out of public school, deciding to homeschool me. You called yourself my teacher, but you weren't. I taught myself from the textbooks we managed to scrounge up, most of which were painfully outdated - I think the most recent one was at least ten or fifteen years old.
You pretended to take care of me and my nephew, but you didn't. I took care of you and him. Or have you forgotten about that? Have you forgotten that you forced me to care for an infant when I was still a kid myself, before I'd even gone through puberty? Or did you think that was ok because you made my siblings take care of me? Did you think it was just par for the course that we would raise each other? Well, you were wrong, on that count and so many others. The only reason we're not completely screwed up is our own force of will.
You pretended to take care of me, to actually be my mom, but I had to become yours. You couldn't cope with the fact that I was the only kid left at home, so you started spiraling into self-pity. Though it would be another ten years before I even heard the term, you were and are a classic narcissist. You constantly needed me to validate you, I didn't learn any other way to be. Although you should have shown me that I had value in and of myself, you taught me that I had no value apart from what I could give everyone else. You were so wrapped up in yourself that you couldn't see that your eleven year old daughter was suicidal, though by that point I was pretty good at hiding things I thought would upset you.
You taught me that I should never speak up, not even in my own defense. That I was to be seen and not heard. Do you have any idea the damage that does to a child? A little girl? Sometimes I wonder, did you treat my sisters that way? Or was it just me? Did you have any idea that that would teach me to never stand up for myself? Even now, twenty plus years later, I still feel guilty asking for anything, setting boundaries, saying no. I still feel guilty for daring to believe that I deserve better. But, thankfully, I've been working on that.
When I was a teenager, I didn't have an image issue until you told me I was fat, which I wasn't. You didn't feel good about yourself, so you had to put me down instead, so you could feel better. I hope a day finally comes where I can look in a mirror or step on a scale without thinking of that, however brief the thought might be.
There are so many things I should probably address, like how your active meddling helped drive a wedge between me and my siblings. Or how regardless of everything I have done and still do for you, in your opinion I'm always in the wrong. I can't do anything right in your eyes. But there's only one thing I really need to.
Probably the worst thing you have ever done to me, is make me believe I was at fault when I lost my babies. I didn't tell you about the miscarriages right away because I didn't want to disappoint you. You had always made such a big deal about how the ultimate role of a woman was marriage and motherhood, which is probably part of why I'm chronically single - I always sabotage things, but that's another story. I didn't want to disappoint you... I never imagined how you would truly react. In your eyes I had become like Lilith, a deamoness, or at least I may as well have. I was the epitome of Eve in the garden - not a mother, but definitely fallen from grace. You railed against me, saying I was at fault. That losing them was my punishment for living in sin, for having sex outside of marriage. That I lost them as punishment for walking away from the Church. The tragedy of this is that in my vulnerability I believed you, for a long time. Thankfully, I now know better. But I can honestly say that not a single Mother's Day goes by without me thinking of that. I'm always reminded that if I hadn't miscarried, I would have an eleven year old and a ten year old right now.
I often wonder what their personalities might have been. What they might have looked like. If they were boys or girls, or one of each. I never told you, but each time, pretty much the moment I found out I was pregnant, I started picking out names. It would have been either Aidan or Declan for a boy, Anya or Erin or Morgaine for a girl. I didn't really admit it to myself at the time, but I wanted those babies. Though in hindsight, I'm glad they weren't born into this family. As much as I wanted them, I wasn't yet ready to be a mom. Though I would have loved them dearly, I wasn't in a place where I could have given them a very good start to life - I was barely starting to figure out my own.
Though I'm quickly approaching the end of my childbearing years, I still hope I'll get to be a mom. In case I do, there's one thing I have promised myself. I am going to be a better mom than you.
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.