I used to send her Mothers Day acknowledgments. Obligatory cards, phone calls, that sort of thing. I used to.
I wanted to love her. I loved the fantasy of what she was supposed to be, what all those Hallmark cards oozed on about when I opened them, the mother character’s tender concern for their child in all those coming-of-age movies. The Sandlot comes to mind. She simultaneously appeared to be all these things and yet was none of them.
I wanted her to love me. But my worth to her was measured by deeds alone. And but for those deeds I was unlovable. And when I had no want left to give, she turned me into the failed parent I came to recognize in her and made me unlovable to everyone else I loved too.
I used to feel completely worthless without her love and I wallowed in self-pity for a long time. I used to. Until it dawned on me that the love I once felt, that I so longed to have reciprocated, was real — she was fake.
Me putting my own well being foremost no doubt seems to have been perceived as betrayal to her for which I am deemed deserving to suffer punishment for, namely holding her love hostage — which no actual loving person does. No one who does this is any sort of prize one wants to win.
Had she stood up for me, let me stand up for myself or, at the very least, take me into consideration whether she agreed with me or not rather than smearing me to others, I would honor her.
Had she not sacrificed me, our relationship, for her own petty ends, I would honor her.
Had she ever thought to simply ask me how I was doing, maybe show me a kindness now and again, I would honor her.
No “gifting” can amount to enough blood tribute to pay off these simple but important dignified acts of respect, compassion and understanding. Without that there’s no trust and no relationship to be had, no matter who it’s with.
I would want a good relationship with her; however, I accept as best I can that we do not and remember that there are good reasons why I choose not to. There’s something wrong with her that I can’t fix and if I let her in then something will become wrong with me too that I would then have to fix yet again only end up exactly where I already am and we already are.
If I believed that the pretense would someday somehow manifest into actuality, I’d perform the Mothers Day ritual, I’d send the card, I’d say the words and I’d cling to that foregone hope with all the love I could muster for it.
I used to.