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Not Your Average Mother's Day Wish

Updated on April 18, 2013
Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother's Day | Source

Did you have a happy, loving childhood?

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I was in the drug store the other day. The section selling greeting cards was crowded and I wondered why. When I saw the large banner advertising Mother’s Day my heart cringed a little.

I joined the throng and nudged my way into the expensive card section. Here you find the bigger cards, the ones adorned with bows and maybe even a bit of shiny plastic shaped like a diamond or a heart. These cards have longer verses – almost a life story of praise and gratitude and loving endearments - and I try to find one that’s not too smarmy and doesn’t name specifics.

I congratulate myself on buying before the selection gets picked over. I’ll also be able to put this year's card in the mail with plenty of time to reach her. I have been known to spend a small fortune on stamps for overnight delivery.

I know my mom appreciates the cards I send her. I also try to send a smallish vase of flowers - something with lots of colour. I can’t go overboard as the room she has in The Home is small and she tends to collect things. Every surface has some little memento, some reminder of her past. There are also hidden stashes of neatly folded paper and plastic bags along with twist-ties, tangles of string and old gift boxes.

My mom is ninety this year and the woman she used to be is very much diminished. She is almost totally blind and her memory is very poor. Brown blotches of gravy decorate her blouses, her sweater is often inside out, and her hairbrush is seldom used. She cannot get to the dining room without her walker and often gets confused. It’s difficult to watch her age, but in some ways it amazes me. She has been threatening to die since I was ten.

There was a time when this tiny woman could reduce me to a speck of dust or promote me to a monster capable of ruining her life. She often used her impending demise as a threat. I wonder now how one person could wield so much power, and when it was that I gave up mine? Where did she learn to be so cruel?

Her own mother died when my mom was sixteen and her father died just before I was born. My mom was also a single parent at a time when divorce was taboo. Life was not easy for my mother but it felt to me as though she was going to make sure mine was no easier.

How is it that some children rebel while others bend and sometimes break?

I wasted years feeling guilty and years being vindictive. I thought if I became an unloving daughter I could somehow even the score. I changed tactics and tried to be the daughter she needed and wanted, only to find myself back in my childhood role. I moved as far away as I could but continued to hear her unrelenting voice in my head.

The physical hurts have healed, the emotional injuries are fading, and the anger I stuffed inside has found a release. I now know it wasn’t me who caused all that fury. She didn't understand that her happiness was in her own hands and I certainly couldn’t gift her the life she needed. I healed myself as much as I could and looked to professionals when I needed help. I have screamed into countless pillows and written dozens of unsent letters.

Time has worked its magic. I have stopped buying my mother impersonal, thoughtless greeting cards. She doesn't really understand what she did and, as she used to say, two wrongs don’t make a right. I understand this now.

There are many others out there who have experienced a hurtful and devastating childhood. Please know that on Mother’s Day you are not alone. To those of you who have survived and gone on to raise healthy children of your own, I send my congratulations.

May we all have a very Happy Mother’s Day.


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  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 3 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Cynthia. Thank you so very much for your comments. I appreciate that you know of the kind of childhood I tried to express in my hub. My father was also an alcoholic. Before we left him I experienced the kind of violent insanity that came with his drunken rages and my mother's never ending rants. I especially like your phrase "an antidote to the PTSD that rocks the lives of child-abused adults". You have definitely been there and my wish for you is the peace that comes with healing. Carol

  • techygran profile image

    Cynthia 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

    Hi there,

    I see that this was written a while back and pray that you have resolved some of the pain and the anger. My mother passed away in 2007. Prior to that she was in a nursing home for a couple of years. I can relate on several levels to what you so succinctly shared in your hub. I believe that I am just beginning to grieve my loss of a mother.

    My mother also threatened to die from the time we were young children. I wonder if there can be anything more traumatic for a kid? My father was definitely in a state of trauma-- he buried himself in his work and alcoholism. He sat and dissociated while she ranted at him for hours, sometimes throwing things, sometimes scratching him. Anyhow, it pretty much continued this way for the 50+ years that I was conscious of my part in the family... but I had many healing "saviours"-- grandparents, aunts, the mothers of my friends... and was able to make it through childhood into a healing marriage.

    Anyhow, I don't mean to hijack your excellent hub -- I understand how difficult it must have been to write it-- but I want to say that "hanging in" (as you suggested to one of the commenters) is really worth it. There is professional help out there. I became a social worker and worked with troubled women in an attempt to help my mother be happy, I'm sure. Fortunately, I was able to do a great deal of therapy as part of my job training over the years. But I would not recommend this career choice as an antidote to the PTSD that rocks the lives of child-abused adults.

    Thank you for this hub. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Voting this up and sharing, pinning. God bless you, Cynthia

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Beth - Yes, there is nothing more complicated and convoluted that a mother/daughter relationship. I wish you peace with yours.

    Thanks for stopping by - Carol

  • profile image

    Beth37 5 years ago

    Aw, this is so painful. Im so sorry. I have put plenty of space between my mother and I currently. Im hoping to reconcile that soon, but it's difficult.

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello My Dear Friend Eddy

    Thank you so very much for your kindness.

    The word courage is often used in this life and even on this site but I am beginning to understand the vast knowledge that you, my dear friend, have of this word.

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement.

    Have a wonderful, peaceful day my friend.


  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

    This one is so very heart tugging Carol and I so applaud you for finding the courage to share.

    The hub that I have published today I dedicate to you my newly found but very dear friend.

    Have a wonderful day.


  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    DJ - I am very grateful for your words. This was a difficult hub to write as I still carry some anger. Thankfully I can acknowledge it and then let it go. Thanks so much for stopping by and for all your wonderful comments.


  • profile image

    DJ Anderson 5 years ago

    Wow! This is one of the most powerful Hub writing I have ever read. The song and video brought it home to me. So much emotional pain is captured in your brief story. You were very wise to seek professional help to overcome the nightmares that are rarely shared. You are very brave to shine a light on your own story and bring it to the attention of readers. Your personal story has touched my heart. Thank you for sharing!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Happy belated Mother's Day to you. It sounds as though you have come a long way in understanding your mother. Nice to know that you have gotten past some of the hurt and anger and moved on to forgiveness. Bless you! I wish that you could have had my experience in growing up instead. I dearly miss my mother who died a couple of years ago now. She was my best friend as well as a loving parent.

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Tillsontitan - I thank you for reading my Hub and for your comments. I appreciate it very much!

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

    This hub breaks my heart. I was so doubly blessed to have a loving - adoptive - mother. I admire your courage in facing what you've had to face and in writing about it with forgiveness. It is a sad, heartbreaking thing to live through and you've covered it so well. Voted up.

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hang in there Kartis. Seek help via books or professionals before too much bad water flows under the bridge. Thanks so much for your comments!

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Thanks Nell. I appreciate your understanding. Unfortunately the abuse often carries on as the abused have no good role models to emulate. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Kartis profile image

    Kartis 5 years ago from Montgomery, AL

    This article has touched me deeply. I have a somewhat similar relationship with my mom. But we are still in the early stages. Thank you for helping me realize that I am not alone.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

    Hi, I do understand, my ex husband had parents who were harsh and cruel, mentally as well as physically, and it broke my heart to see him want to love them only to have it thrown back in his face. Maybe that's why we still stick together in the same house even though we are no longer together. There does come a time when we have to forgive, or even just forget if only for our own sanity and healing, so happy mothers day to you, and I hope you have a great day, nell