My mother died seven years ago but I have always missed her.
I think about my mother a lot during the holidays. She adored Christmas with a childlike glee, made the best chocolate chip and sugar cookies and could wrap a present like nobody’s business.
I wanted another mother.
I discovered at the tender age of 14 while getting ready for my first boy/girl party that the mother I had was never going to be the mother I needed. After helping me put together an outfit and apply the slightest bit of makeup, she said flatly I “looked fine” and shooed me out of her bedroom.
I was confused and hurt.
My mother was aloof and far way, indifferent and quiet. I tried like hell to get inside her head but she had no interest in self revelation or sharing herself with me. Or anyone, but perhaps my father and sister.
We struggled to communicate with one another, we struggled to relate to one another, we struggled to look each other in the eye. There was always a gaping distance between us. It wasn’t tension as the result of a big blow out, we simply had nothing to talk about. I remember a four-hour car ride we took together in which maybe ten words were shared.
Even after years of knowing what I would encounter each and every time, I still kept hoping that she would change. That she would let me in.
I needed a mother who was present and engaging, hands on and expressive. I wanted the kind of mother my friends had. One who was interested and interesting. I knew so little about the woman who raised me.
For years I thought if I could just find the right way to talk to her, she’d open up. Every question I asked lead to a dead end so eventually I gave up.
Things weren’t as quiet when my father was around and especially if my sister was present. Both served as buffers and provided topics of conversation.
As an adult, before both of my weddings and once on a very long family road trip I wanted to confront her but I chickened out because I was afraid of her response. My ego couldn’t handle more mommy disappointment. What could she say to me? “I’m sorry, I did the best I could.”? I didn’t want to hear that. Of course, I don’t know what I wanted to hear.
While I once thought my mother and I were as different as night and day, now I’m not so sure. Now that I’m a mother myself I feel like I know her in a whole new way. Is that crazy?
This was a stream of consciousness post written in 15 minutes with very little editing. My relationship with my mother is a topic that I could go on and on about as I try to dissect it, what I wish it was and how I find peace with it now that she is gone.