My friend Ray is one of the reasons I began blogging. He’s also the reason that I know beyond a doubt that I am failing at it. He just posted the most beautiful blog about his mother. I reblogged it earlier.
My friend Jamie lost her mother about 5-6 years ago. You’d never know it to look at them that Kay was not her biological mother. They had such a close friendship even when Jamie was a troubled teenager. She still grieves. They were best friends.
I’m not above admitting that I’m jealous. I don’t have that kind of relationship with my parents. Mostly I just feel like I’m my mother’s consolation prize. She wanted a son and she got one. One who is failing her miserably. She wanted a daughter. She got two. Twins. I’m the extra. It’s with a mixed bag of pride and chagrin that I can state that I’m her favorite. I don’t think I was her first pick.
From a simplistic view, there’s my classic Nordic-like father: cold, distant, uncommunicative (about feelings-not about anything else) and my warm, caring Cancer mother. He grew up a product of divorce when divorce wasn’t that common. A hard working mother and an absent father. He never talks about it so I draw my own conclusions. No one teaches you to be a father when you don’t have one to copy. From all accounts, my mother had a happy 50s like upbringing. My supposition is that years with Oscar the Grouch have dampened her bubbly personality. After over 50 years together they are quite the team-they argue like the Honeymooners yet my mother never EVER verbalizes that she’d have done anything different. It’s obvious now that he would be completely lost without her. God forbid.
My relationship with my mother? It’s one of obligations and guilty duty. I know that it’s important so I call her every Sunday and whenever something comes up. I have to because the others don’t. Don’t ever call. Don’t come by the house. Don’t make the effort. Also, because I know that I was a disappointment to them-a clinging clone, an extra person to buy for, a rebellious teen, the first college graduate that is neither wealthy nor famous, just moved away.
My mother has said that of three children, two were my fathers and I’m hers. Hers is a sneaky kind of guilt, don’t you think?
I’d feel anxious about putting my siblings in such a dismal light, or making suppositions about my parents, but none of them read my blogs. My parents don’t have the internet. Neither my sister nor my husband nor even my closest friends have even mentioned my blog posts, so I don’t have to worry about their opinion.
Maybe all this means that I should try to be a better daughter. God forbid it mean I work harder at being a better mother. I’m afraid that ship may have already sailed. My kids treat me with all the disdain and embarrassment of an ugly Christmas sweater. Necessary for the holiday theme, but hardly anything you’d wear out in public in April. I may need to hone the sly art of guilt tripping. They may still be malleable.
Maybe I should just bake those cookies I’ve been threatening to bake all week. Nothing says Loving Like Something From the Oven.