At first, I didn’t know what to do about it, well, what do you do, when your mother who hasn’t spoken to you for three years, suddenly sends you a birthday card. Almost since the day I was born, my mother and I have had what I can only call, as a fractious relationship. The first time I realised that I wasn’t the same as the rest of the family was when I was still in primary school. I don’t know what it was that woke me up to it, but it was as clear as the nose on my face, I was treated differently. None of it made any sense, I couldn’t work it out at all, but I was told off all the time for things that the rest of the family got away with. I was the middle child, if, you can have a middle out of four children. My elder brother and sister were separated by only two years, five years later, there was me, and five years after that, my little brother. He was the apple of her eye, not at first, but when it was found out that he had received brain damage from the forceps when he was born, he became the special one. No, I wasn’t a jealous child, I wasn’t even aware of him being special until years later, at the time, he was just different.
My older sibling, they had freedom, everything new, and everything they asked for. Me, I was the hand me down child, and not just from my sister, from my two older cousins as well. I never felt as though I mattered, that anything I said was listened to. A lot of the time, I felt in the way, a nuisance who was always too young or too old, the inbetweener who never belonged. I didn’t find out why, until, Mum and I were having a huge row about nothing. We were in the garden and whatever she said really got to me, I screamed at her “I hated you”. Then it came out, I was totally unwanted. I was 10 years old and my mother told me she never wanted me, but her doctor wouldn’t giver her an abortion. A couple of years later, that argument was elaborated on, I had snuck into the world through a whole in a condom. In the early 60’s family planning wasn’t quite the science it is today, and abortions, well there had to be a real reason, and she didn’t have one. My little brother too was an accident, but his problems made him special, I was just an annoyance. The child that stopped her from having the career she wanted, and the life she wanted.
Knowing you were born unwanted, isn’t the best information a child needs, to make them obedient and compliant to their parents desires. Yes, I admit, I turned into a rebel, who wouldn’t under those circumstances. When my parents divorced, I was sent with my father. Mum yet again didn’t want me, and during the next 18 months, I discovered neither did my Father. I was in my early 30’s before I confronted her on that one. I lived through a year of abuse, that no child should have to and I thought she always knew. She says she didn’t, but there was something about the way she said it, that left me still not believing her. From the day my father took me out the back door of our house, into his care, to today, my relationship with my Mother has been totally off and on. She was delighted when I married my first husband. A Royal Navy officer, at last I was doing something she approved of, after all, even though I was 16, he was a very respectable match and meant I was at the other end of the country. Throughout the 10 years we were together, she was the model Mother, Mother-in-law and grandmother. Then I left him. She didn’t speak to me for a year and when she did eventually speak to me when I phoned, rather than her hanging up, it was as though nothing had happened. Which, was more than bizarre, but that’s my Mother.
Our relationship slowly did become one of equals. I proved that I was more than capable of supporting myself, even if she didn’t understand why I wanted to be a DJ, or my tattoos, black & bright red hair extensions and my individual style of clothes, but we actually got on, again. She even met each partner as they appeared, she disliked and liked all the wrong ones, but she put up with their existence, that was, until I met Adam. Even though my sisters husband is 17 years older than her, my marrying someone 17 years younger than me was once more totally unacceptable. She refused to come to our wedding and didn’t even want to meet him, until a year after. Almost every time we spoke, she told me it wouldn’t last, that he would leave me. When he didn’t, even after I got ill, she still had few good words to say about our relationship. Slowly, she accepted him, as she now had bigger fish to fry, telling me just how badly I was handling my health. How she knew people with MS and they weren’t anything like I was, and no matter how many times I explained it, she wouldn’t accept it as it was me who was telling her. Slowly, we spoke less and less, it dropped from every couple of weeks, down to maybe once a month. I had so little to say once I was housebound, and she didn’t like being upstaged, by someone who was iller than her. After all, I had listened to her telling me for 40 years, about how little time she had left. She has always been the family hypochondriac, convinced from her 50’s that she wouldn’t live long. She’s now nearly 90.
Just over 3 years ago, our calls had dwindled right off. I don’t think I had heard from her for about 4 maybe 5 months, so I decided that I was clearly the one, who was supposed to call. The phone wasn’t answered, not once, but for 3 or 4 weeks in a row. I hadn’t been calling daily, but I felt it was odd, even odder when I left messages and I still heard nothing. I had no choice, but to call my little brother, mummies boy, always mirrored whatever she thought or did, so never hearing from him, wasn’t a surprise. She was in the hospital, she had had a fall and broken her hip, six months before. The decision had been taken that there was no point in telling me, after all, I was housebound, what was the point. He kept me updated with a couple of calls over the for next couple of months, as she was shifted from one hospital to another. Calling him and actually having the phone answered, was rare, he worked shifts, and no one else in the family, ever answered the phone. Then the decision was made, she was to go into a home, as she was unable to go home again. The last time we spoke was when I was fed up of hearing nothing and my calls not being answered, so we tricked him. Adam called and left a message, asking him to call. I knew he would think that I was either dead or extremely ill, but it made him call. Mum was now in her second care home, she had only been there a week and they were waiting to see if she settled. He promised he would call, she was to have a phone in her room and he would give me her number. He never called, nor did she.
This Christmas, I sent her card to his address, just as I did the year before. No card came in response from her, but there was one from him. Still there was no phone number or even an address, but he did name the care home where she is and a note saying she was well, but that was it. Then out of the blue, a birthday card arrives, with a note inside, saying how happy she was and how she enjoyed her weekends surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Once again, no phone number, or even the address of where she was. Because I had the name of the care home, the internet has supplied me with what I think is the address. I guess, she want’s me to write to her now. Part of me feels it’s too late, that there is nothing to be gained from it. Part of me feels once more out of the duty of a child, that I have to respond. Why do parents have this horrid hold over us, even when they have failed as a parent? I have never felt anything from her that I would call close to love, just duty. Despite what I shouted as a child, I have never hated her, but I have never hated anyone. So what do I do now?
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – Plasma itch
Snore day number one…..otherwise know as Saturday, the first day of two snore days where Adams snoring from the settee is once more blocking out the TV! How does he do it? I honestly would have thought that not……