Being a Real Mother

Let me first start out by saying that I want to be a writer. I’m very new at this “share my words with the world” but I have been writing for years, for my eyes only. I feel its time for me to go ahead and take a leap and put some stuff out there just to see how it feels. Sometimes I will put up a short story and other times I will write about some real personal stuff. I heard writing is therapeutic.  I may make a ton of grammatical errors but hopefully, my content will be understood by many.

To start this new journey, I must first divulge some seriously private matters. In writing these pages, I will be touching on some powerful emotions that I have dealt with since I was a very young girl and well into my adulthood. I always thought that putting my thoughts and feelings down in words would encourage me to learn how to look deep inside of myself for some therapeutic healing to go along with any professional therapy sessions I may have had or will have in my future.

So a box of tissue is a must (for myself) because I can see this is going to be a tearfully long and painful process as I write today. Please bear with me as I go through some the many issues that I have had to endure during my life. Issues that even counseling, numerous psychiatrists and plenty doses of Xanax just couldn’t possibly fix alone.

At the age of 48, I found myself taking a close look at my immediate family. A family that consists of 4 independent adult sons, 1 teenage son soon to be independent and 4 beautiful daughters. I often wonder how or if I could have been a better mother to my older children. I always feel like I didn’t give parenting my all when I had the opportunity.
Now the opportunity of being a single parent was not part of my life plan according to me, but according to God, my higher power, this plan was destined before I was even thought of. 
My first pregnancy happened when I was only 15 years old, but to be honest with you all I had also been pregnant when I was 13 or 14, it is hard to remember exactly how old I was, I just remember the situation and the confusion of the whole ordeal, but that will be discussed at a later time. As an adult I am not ashamed of carrying a child in my belly at the age of 15, but at the time, boy was I ashamed and embarrassed.  The truth is I simply I had absolutely no control over how I was to become pregnant so young and being forced into becoming a single parent.

When reality set in that I was going to have a baby I hoped that one day I might just wake up and be a real mother to the baby(s).  I didn’t even know what it meant to be a “real” mother. Yes, I had a mother, and a grandmother but they were no role models.  I’m sure they loved me and did they best they could for me at the time but my mind and heart longed for more.  I wanted to have a mother like Becky’s down the street, now I bet that household had a real mother who shared lots of love with her husband and her children, even though they live in a mobile home.  I would have traded my life for Becky’s life in a heart beat back then.  

In my mind to be a real mother would entail having a whole lot of love for the child she bore and do fun things with her and not dread preparing meals for her family because she was too tired from dancing during the midnight hours or worn down from being verbally and physically abused by her husband. I wanted a mom that went to PTA meetings and had tea during book club moments with her friends. I wanted a real mother who would make sure her children had a wonderful Christmas gifts under a real tree, instead of having her children pick out old worn out toys and give them comic strips from two-yearold newspapers to wrap pre-played with toys to gift to one another.  I hated not being able to celebrate Christmas like the kids on my block.   I am not saying that being able to give store-bought gifts makes for a real mother, I’m just saying it just makes life a little happier.  I don’t remember a whole lotta love being spread around from the few women in my life.  And a whole lot of love was what it was going to take to get me through the completion of my pregnancy/s and I guess I got the short end of that love stick.

There were times that I would feel detached from the concept of being a real mother. How can I possibly be a “real” mother when love feels so foreign to me? My heart was hardened, yet I would be all teary-eyed when I lay in bed watching lifetime movies munching on Doritos and Reese cups on lazy Sunday afternoons. A small dash of love must have lived somewhere deep within me.  I just needed to tap into it and grasp hold of it and learn to accept what it meant to love so that I could be the mother that I was destined to be. To have just an ounce of love should be able to do the trick and make me a real mother automatically.  But it did not come that easy for me. I knew how to care for my child(ren).  The easy stuff, bathing, dressing and singing twinkle twinkle little star, the cuddling, the kissing, the closeness, once my babies popped out of me, was not there. It was so hard for me to even talk to my babies while they were newborns because I just didn’t know how to speak to them or what to even say, so I hummed. I hummed a lot. Those were really sad moments in my life. Possibly the saddest moments a mother could experience. When I realized that I did not know how to express that “Real Mother”ness to my children I knew exactly why it was difficult for me. Remembering how my father once loved me taught me how to (not) connect with my little ones. And it hurt.

I couldn’t take lessons on how to love from my mother because she lost her loving “real” mother status when she high tailed it right out of my life one Mothers Day when I was in my early teens, after my first abortion, and before my first full term pregnancy. She called my younger sister and me out to the carport to tell us she was going to she quickly told us she was just going to my grandmas’ house to buy her some groceries with our food stamps and she would be right back. “Right back” was a lie because our grandma lived on the west side of Columbus, Ohio and our house sat in a quiet cul de sac 35 minutes away in Gahanna, Ohio. So that would be at least an hour to and from, not counting the dreaded minutes it would take for my elderly grandma to redeem her hundreds of green stamps at the Big Bear. This mandatory trip to grocery shop just happened to be ON MOTHERS DAY of all days to leave her family! As she slid into a Yellow Cab, I begged her to take us with her.  She closed the door of the taxi disappeared right out of our life.

I sorrowfully remember standing in the carport with my younger sister watching our mom be whisked away in a that taxi. We watched the cab driver back out of our carport in tears, as our mom headed toward Hamilton road to hit 270, I assume.

I’ll never forget waiting for my mom to look back at us as she left but my mom never looked back as the cab drove off. My sister and I stayed in our carport for hours crying, trying to play hopscotch or jumping rope while we waited for her to return. To this day I have no idea where my father was or my other siblings.  All I can remember is my Mom, my sister who was right under me and that horrible yellow taxi cab and my family eating a late dinner.  I did the dishes and put them away, and bedtime came. 

My mother never came back to her abusive husband of 18 years and her three children, whom I thought she loved. For years she would never call us, she would never write, she would never even send a card with money tucked away inside.

As the days went by I found myself beginning to hate her more and more. I hated my mother for leaving me alone with her husband, I hated her for forcing me to care for her children when I still needed to be cared for.  I hated her for wearing a size 3 jeans when I wore a size 9. I hated her because she wore a size 6 shoe and my big toe pressed too snug in a size 9.5.

 How could she abandon me and not ever have felt the hurt and sorrow that I had been going through, well before she ran out on me?  All the while I never stopped painfully missing her.  Just think, now every Mothers Day for the rest of my life I have to remember that dreadful day when she left my three siblings and me to fend for ourselves in an unstable, dysfunctional home with her volatile husband, my father.

To be Continued…

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