Sunday, May 09, 2004

My Enigma - My Mother

Today is the day that children everywhere will stop to reflect on the woman who holds the position of mother in their life. I can be no different. Many mothers sit on a pedestal to be looked up to and reveled in all her glory. Not my mother. We, her children, stand in stature heads above her. In character and heart, we soar. Harsh, critical, and judgemental it sounds. I feel much guilt that she doesn't sit on a pedestal in my heart. However, the lines of child and mother have been blurred so many years now that it's hard to put on her rose-colored glasses and believe otherwise.

I look at the old pictures when we were young and try to remember times where she healed scrapes and bruised egos. The memories don't exist, at least not in which she played the role of healer.  Her children were often the ones to step in and rescue her from the scrapes and bruises that came too often and too regular to forget. We were her protector when it should have been the other way around.  We nurtured each other and gave ourselves the solid ground we needed to thrive.

Was it always this way? I'm not sure. I think at some point the maternal instinct had to have resided inside her for her to sire four children. But, somewhere along the way it stopped and she walked away from it emotionally, if not physically. We became an adornment, a photo-op. We went along for the ride.

Years later, I tried to make sense of it all. What it was that I expected and why those expectations were not met. Part of me believed that my expectations were unreasonable and I still do. As an adult, I can look at things in a different perspective. I've made many mistakes in my life trying to find my way. However, the mistakes I made taught me something about myself and even a little about my mother. Although, I feel I will never quite understand her. She is an enigma to me.  Making my own mistakes has taught me that parents are not perfect. They are human. Unfortunately, when a person has children the mistakes they make can be far-reaching, affecting not only themselvesbut the lives of their children as well. Her mistakes affected us deeply but in spite of it all we grew to be loving, giving adults. None of us chose the route of victim, to lay blame at the feet of our mother for the choices we made. We rose above our circumstance and took responsibility for the lives we chose. In our own ways, we have healed and moved on from the past. And, through it all, we've managed to keep a relationship with the woman we call our mother. I think it's because we each know that she is the only mother we will ever have. Warts and all, she is the woman who brought us into this world. She's the only mother we will ever have and because of that we love her.

I look at pictures of my mother when she was young and wonder what it was that shaped her into the woman she became. Did her dreams come true? Is she happy with the way her life turned out? As hard as it is to comprehend, she was a child once with hopes and dreams. It's an equalizer of sorts. For, I too, was a child once. Looking out to the world for the answers that I could only find within myself. Many questions are left to be answered. Is it still the same for her?

I wish I could say I understand it all. The emotions inside me are still mixed up with the little girl that has tried to make sense of it all. But, ultimately, I know that she's my mother and I'm grateful for my life. However, it came to be, it is as it should be and I'm happy. I hope the same for her. That the little girl within has come to terms with the woman she became and somewhere within lies peace and happiness. You're not who I thought you should be. You'll always be My Enigma - My Mother. But, I love you nonetheless. Happy Mother's Day.


screaminremo303 said...

<<<screeching brakes>>> Huh?

freeepeace said...

Robbie - this is an amazing entry.  Such honesty, vulnerability and compassion.  Beautiful.  The picture of your mother as a little girl looks just like you.  Uncanny.

Mother's Day is bittersweet for me too - for some similar and not-so-similar reasons.  But I believe we can all relate to this on some level.  Powerful.  Thanks for sharing. :)

karensull12 said...

Robbie, this is such a brave and honest entry.  When I find myself reading all those beautiful tributes to mothers in journals out there, I feel such a loss myself because I just don't have the kind of relationship with my mother that SO many seem to share.  I have always tried to put myself in her place, to try to see life through HER eyes, and when I attempt to do this, the conclusion I come to is that I do not know that I would do things differently if I were in her place in her life, and this stops me from feeling totally hateful towards her.  But there is a constant sadness, a loss, that lives with me because of this.  It does shape you.  It does mark the way you live your life.  I think when I read an entry like yours, it makes me feel less alone because I sometimes think that everyone has what I want.  And even though I'm sure we are in the minority, we're not alone.

snkwarren said...

Great entry, you show such compassion when you could just as easily been ate up with resentment.  You are a good person....  Kristi

onmiownnow2 said...

I was always the one watching out for my Mom, too.  But... that was just her.  I think I forgave her a long time ago for the way she was when I was little.  But she abandoned me again when I grew up and needed her more than ever.  I understand why she did it... but it doesn't make it any easier.  I try to pretend that she was more than she was.  That she always loved me and just had a hard time showing it.  But no matter.  I have my own kids now, and I don't need her any more.  I hope that my kids never think of me the way that I think of her.  Lisa

ckays1967 said...


  Do you know why God gives us friends?  He allows us to pick our own spiritual family that way.  Families are what you just get....friends are a blessing.  I wish for you peace and happiness for indeed, you are a beautiful, giving adult!!!!!


indigosunmoon said...

Wow Robbie....what an emotion packed entry.  How brave and fearless of you to share this part of your life with all of us.  

mlraminiak said...

I must confess, I've been reading all these heartfelt, glowing tributes to Moms, and feeling a little non-plussed.  I love my Mom...I don't feel like she particularly screwed up my life...but she was not the loving "friend, guardian, champion, sterling example of womanhood" that some of the J-land inhabitants write about.  The conclusion I came to with my mother, some years back, is that she did what was expected of women at the time...she got married and had a bunch of babies.  You really didn't have a whole lot of choices back then, unless you were an incredibly brave and strong personality...which my mother was NOT.  But that didn't mean she was particularly suited to motherhood, either...  She wasn't an awful mother...but she sure wasn't the best.
So, it was refreshing to read your story.  Made me feel a little less out of the loop...thanks for sharing it.  Lisa  :-]

ggal3133 said...

Thank you for sharing this part of you with us. My mom and I aren't all that close either, altho I have tried for many years. I like what another J poster said, that friends are the family you can choose. That is so true.

merelyp said...

Bless your pea-pickin' heart, Robbie!  the sacharrine on this sunday trek was starting to leave such a taste in my mouth.  I chose not to become a mother for the exact same reasons you outline here in a description of your mom--and the love does still show, by the way.  Fortunately, my father was a nurturer--at least to me (not so much for my poor older sister)--so I was hugged and fussed over a bit.  Still, I saw myself falling into the behaviors I most disliked about my own mom's "motherhood" self.  Plainly put, she wasn't interested; nor was I.  
Mae knows I won't be her mom.  I won't spoil her or her son (and I'm gettin' darn sick of all the billing & cooing--enough is enough!  this is a public place!), but hopefully I will challenge her and be her friend.  You rock for writing this.  (I expect nothing less from you, either.)

slowmotionlife said...

This was a difficult entry to read.  I think we all have the idealistic visions of what a mother should be.  Rarely do our mothers live up to those expectations.  I love my mother very much, but I often wonder if I were to meet her on the street, as a stranger, if I would *like* her very much.  The answer is probably not.  I find that really sad.  It's difficult to reconcile my extreme appreciation for everything she's done for me in my life [she gave birth to me, she fed me, clothed me] and all the things she never did for me [listen to me, do what was in my best interest, protect me from certain evils, encourage me to be happy].  I think what you've written here covers a lot of those internal struggles many of us face when it comes to our mothers.  Thank you for writing it, even if it wasn't the typical mother-daughter love story we often expect on this day.  I think I prefer your honest view.  ::smile::

plieck30 said...

Looks can be sooo deceiving, speaking of the beautiful family picture. You certainly seem to be a very levelheaded young lady in spite of it all. Thank you for being brave enough to share it. Paula

readmereadyou said...

So honest and so insightful. Sometimes we learn from our parents by not being who they were. Not a bad thing. We all can create a better reality than we had. And, you also seem to have the insight to know that maybe she just did all SHE could. This post will help many who don't have those "Hallmark" feelings.

sistercdr said...

I honestly think that the mother-daughter relationship is possibly the most complex type of relationship in the world. I love and respet my mother, but I know that I'm going to spend a good chunk of my lifetime figuring out the dynamic between us.  I've come to peace if not full understanding.  I wish you the same.

sistercdr said...

Your honesty is deeply moving.

dymphna103 said...

we never know what makes people do what they do  john

lisbnjvi said...

I could not put into words what you just did about how I feel about my mother, but it is strikingly similar!  The only difference is, I chose NOT to have a relationship with my mother, but you have.  I am proud of you for doing so because it does take a strong person, emotionally and spiritually, to be able to do so with the upbringing you had.  I am sending your entry to my girlfriend too who has a mother just like yours (and still has a relationship with her) so she will understand that there is someone else out there like her too!  Beautiful entry Robbie!
Hugs and love, Lisa

barebytes said...

We can only hope to understand ourselves in what little life gives us. Love those glimp's of your past. And no, I didn't want to clear out the nude beach by exposeing my fat ass to the world. Isn't it funny how we can enjoy the freedom that others have yet can't find that freedon within ourselves? Hugs Lanny

babyshark28 said...

wow. that's a lot of emotions to deal with there.  makes me think about what my daughter will think about me, when she is grown.  not that I think I am like your mother.  It's just, I guess you go along thinking your doing a great job, but realizing were just human.  And we will make mistakes, ones that we might forget, but a child never does.  And I wonder, what she will remember at your age.

I didn't even get to see my mom on mothers day. I missed that. :(  
I love your pictures here.  they tell quite a story.

quroboros said...

Quite a remarkable entry here.  As usual, the depth of your insight scares me.  ¤Holly

lamove04 said...

Robbie: amazing entry & photos. I forgot, amidst all the corny tributes (including my own!), that so many mother/child relationships are more than a little complicated.  I was thinking that my Father's Day entry will be as complex as this one. The picture of your mother as a young girl is a treasure. --Albert

deabvt said...

Robbie, just wonderful!!!!!!!!
You must have put a lot of work into this, and it shows!

musenla said...

Yes, our parents are human, just like us, and likely have also been hurt in their own lives and just trying to make the best of it.  You and your siblings have done the best thing you can do, and that is to take the flame from her when you came of age and in effect say, "thanks Mom, but I'll take it from here".

It's quite a revelation once we realize that our parents, almost mythical heroes in our eyes growing up, also have their faults and weaknesses like everyone else.  And to have the roles reversed and be the comforter instead of the comforted is a life-altering point as well.

krobbie67 said...

SCREMO: Didn’t mean to stop you dead in your tracks. Huh? ;-p

FREEE: Yeah, I think a lot of people can relate on some level. I guess that’s what motivates me to share such things. Funny though, that picture of my mom looks just like my brother Chris when he was a kid, not me.

KAREN: I’m glad my entry could make you feel less alone, because you really aren’t. I’ve met a lot of people in this world and you’d be surprised, how much more balanced the scales of dysfunctional to functional there are. It’s really quite sad.

KRISTI: It took a while not to be eaten up with resentment. But, once I tried to see things from her shoes it made it a lot easier.

ONMIOWN - LISA: I really believe some people aren’t meant to have children. But then again, we wouldn’t be here probably if that were enforced. So, however it came to be, live, learn, and do differently. And, yes, hopefully better.

CHRISTINA: I have a good family, just not the perfect mother, or perfect upbringing, but I love my family dearly. But, yes, friends can be a great support and love as well.

CONNIE: I throw these out there every now and then. I guess it has just been a while. It’s hard to get too deep now that more people are reading this thing. But, I’m trying my best to stay true to me. Thanks!

krobbie67 said...

MLRAMINIAK – LISA: I’m glad to have people feel “less out of the loop” That’s one of my main purposes for sharing things like this because it is so easy to feel alone when in fact we never really are.

GGAL: Yes, I believe you create family whether it is by blood or bonds.

MERELYP: I think it takes a wise woman to see herself clearly and act in accordance to that self-realization. I admire your decision to not follow in your mother’s footsteps. It takes bravery to not cave to societal norms. And, thanks!

SLO: Thank you! You know me; I’ve got to say it like it is. But, hopefully, you can feel a sense of support by what I wrote that there are people who understand and can relate to what you are going through.

PAULA: Pictures can be deceiving, but we were raised to put on a good face for the world too. Thanks!

READMEREADYOU: Thanks. I think that’s what it comes down to: she is being who she knows how to be. I think that was the most freeing revelation for me. I realized my mom didn’t wake up every morning thinking how to ruin my life.

SISTERCDR: I am there. I have peace but like you I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. I guess that’s why I bring up the questions, of what was it like for her as a child. What made her into the person she is?

JOHN: We sure don’t but boy would it be nice to know the “Whys”!

krobbie67 said...

LISBNJVI – LISA: Aw…thanks Lisa. I hope your friend can find some kind of comfort or camaraderie. You and I have so much in common, sometimes it’s scary. I guess it’s a good thing I am single, tall, and dark-haired, or people might think we’re twins. ;-)

LANNY: It’s so good to have you back. Hey, nobody’s perfect. I’m sure you saw that on the beach so enjoy your freedom to stay clothed or not.

SHARKY: I think a lot of it depends on the depth of your mistakes. I find it hard to believe that anything I have experienced is being experienced by Rosebud, at least I sure hope not. You’re a good mom, she’ll love you, I’m sure.

HOLLY: Thanks. Interesting that it would scare you, I’m not that unusual. Am I? ;-)

ALBERT: It is a pretty neat picture. Isn’t it? My grandmother used to wrap my mom’s hair in rags to get those ringlets in her hair. Seems so long ago, like she was born at the turn of the century or something, but she was born in 1942.

VINCE: Thanks. It took a little time to scan the pics but not much more effort than that. I write my entries at the time I post.

MUSE: My mom was never a mystical hero to me, unfortunately. I guess that’s the crux of it all. I didn’t have that “fall from grace” moment.