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Mothers Day - Appreciating your mom.............

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: Mothers Day - Appreciating your mom.............
By Karen~moderator on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 11:58 am:

I didn't want to hijack Heidi's thread on missing her mom, so I thought I'd start a new one. I'm sure many of us now have, or have had, conflicting feelings about our parents. After all, very few of us had the perfect upbringing.

I want to say to Pamt, thank you for your comment to me. I wasn't sure if I was sounding too *sappy*, but that's the way I truly feel.

I learned a lot, and grew a lot as a person, while my mom was sick. All the family secrets that we lived with for years were out in the open, all the games stopped. There were many honest, painful, gut-wrenching, and happy conversations in that time period. I, and I am sure my mom too, spent a lot of time thinking about life, our family, the things that are important, the things that were *less than perfect*. And during those 3 years, I came to realize that once, in her own way, she was a beautiful, dignified, interesting, intelligent, talented, and very caring individual.

When my mom died and we held her memorial, my sisters and I all spoke to the friends and family who were present at the service. We each had something different to say. And I recognized that with all of her faults and imperfections, she gave us all a lot, she gave us things that will be with us forever. And that we have learned from that. Some of the things we got from her will be cherished and passed on; others will be *discarded*.

In each of us there are positive and negative aspects of our personalities and makeup. I don't feel that we have the right to judge someone, because we were not that person, living that person's life, living in that person's shoes.

My mother was a very talented pianist and quite good as an artist. She loved history. She had a soft spot for young people in need, she actually took in a friend when I was 16/17 and agreed to take guardianship of her and finish raising her, when we were living on a shoestring budget. She could talk your ears off about classical music and musicians, and period artists. At one time, and in brief periods over the years, she was a very caring and nurturing person.

Her alcoholism: The more she drank, the angrier and more resentful she became. She gave up her hobbies (music and painting) and began to see only negative things in people. Depression was clearly an issue. But we came to learn that one major cause of a lot of her problems was the fact that she never followed her own dream - which was to become a concert pianist. She caved under the pressure her parents put on her and went into the medical field. She started drinking in college, and drank to hide her unhappiness. She had a controlling father, and married a controlling man. She continued to drink more and more until that became the focus of her days. And with any addict, they lie to cover the drinking, etc., and their memory of events tends to be not very accurate.

All of these things made her who she was. All of the extensive conversations and reflections allowed all of us to realize that above everything else, she loved us - her children. There were brief periods of time in our lives when I distinctly remember her being truly happy - times when our family was on camping trips in the country - something she loved doing.

When I was a child back in the 50's and 60's, depression, and going to a therapist were not necessarily taboo subjects, but *getting help* was not accepted and encouraged the way it is now. People mostly tended to make excuses and ignore the problem. Which only made it worse, for everyone. I used to blame my dad - as a doctor he SHOULD have seen what was happening and done something about it. But things were different then.

I know now that my mom had some serious emotional problems, and she had a phobia about practically everything. She drank because she was unhappy and full of resentment, she lied to cover her drinking. She was intelligent enough to know there was something wrong physically with her, but the drinking allowed her to live in denial.

She became a shell of the person she once was - or could have been. We were all angry and fed up with her, and tired of her mind games and lies and convenient memory - or lack of.

Her cancer diagnosis changed things for all of us. SHE needed to be taken care of, and she was 100% willing to let us (me) do it. It was during those 3 years that I gained so much insight about her life. I was able to see how and why her life followed the road it did. I'm not saying it was right or wrong, though I personally believe it was wrong, but placing blame won't do anyone any good.

In those 3 years I had plenty of time to reflect on my/our life, and I realized that she was not *that* bad as a mom. Very often, I had thoughts of *things could have been different if only.....* I was full of resentment because I felt that I was cheated out of *the perfect mom*. I was angry at the burden she placed on me, much of it by her own doing. But that has passed. No one is perfect, and with all of her problems and issues, I truly think she did the best she could do - at the time.

I have many good memories, I can see her as the person she once was - the one she was before she completely allowed addiction to take over her life, the one she was before she had a terminal illness. I see now how insecure she must have been, and how afraid she was. Now, I'm glad I was there for her, even though I complained about it at the time.

I miss my mom, but I now truly value the good things she gave to me over the years, and the bad times seem less important as time passes. She knew I loved her, and I'm glad that I told her that before she died.

I guess with Mothers Day being tomorrow, I'm doing a lot of reflecting this week, and I just want to say to all of you, in spite of whatever flaws your mom has, accept that she is the mom you were given and love her for that. And tell her so.

As a mom, I've made numerous mistakes. There are many things I'd do differently if I could. But I can honestly say I did the best I could under the circumstances of my life at the time. I *hope* my kids will understand and not hold it against me.

Happy Mothers Day to all of us MOMS!!!!

By Cocoabutter on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 01:03 pm:

God Bless you Karen.

Your mom sounds a bit like my grandmother, but without the alcoholism. My grandmother was depressed and emotionally disturbed. I was too young to know what was really going on. She had a ton of health issues, and she died in 1984 when I was 14.

I still miss her. She loved to play the organ, and her favorite hymn was "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." I can't sing it in church- I get too choked up. She loved to make jewelry with fancy beads. She crocheted and she grew flowers. She loved to go to farmer's markets for fruits and veggies. She loved to bake molasses cookies and rhubarb pie. She loved Johhny Carson and Lawrence Welk.

But she was always haunted with depression and sickness. She had asthma, chronic bronchitis, an enlarged heart, arthritis in her back, and a leg that had been broken in a car accident that had never healed and she had to wear a leg brace for the rest of her life.

Oh jeez, I'm crying. When she died, I knew she was finally at peace in Heaven with God's arms wrapped around her. No more pain, no more heartache. Just peace.

My mom is 60 and still alive. We talk about grandma sometimes. She had a hard life before my mom was born. It was no wonder she was the way she was. I just wish I had more time with grandma.

By Anonymous on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 06:30 pm:

Thank you, Karen. I truly, deeply pray that someday I'll feel that way about my own mother. Right now, I'm so angry for the things she said as I grew up, the emotional games she played, the constant anger in our home. I desperately want to find a way to focus on the positive with my mother while she's still here and still has all her facilities about her. At this point, the best thing I can say about her is that she didn't do any of it deliberately, she's just too much in the grip of her bipolar disorder to have any kind of a normal relationship with any of her children. You've renewed my hope that someday there will be a sense of love and enjoyment between us, not guilt and resentment.


By Tripletmom on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 08:24 pm:

(((ANON))) I feel the same way towards my mother.I read Karens post earlier and didn't know how to respond because I'm not there yet.It was actually easier to have the distance between us because I'm tired of the guilt.My mother doesn't have any existing medical conditions now or in the past to put blame on.Shes just a very selfish person.I have problems buying Mother/B-day cards for her because none of them are true.When my dad died I really tried to re-connect and do my best but the guilt and hurt keep coming into play.I confronted her and laid everything on the table hoping that she understood me and maybe I could understand her.She made me feel worse.It's just easier to let go and not feel bad that I should talk to her b/c she's my mother.

Karen-I'm glad you have some peace in you're life in regards to you're mom.You're post made me feel that 1 day it will be possible for me.Right now is not the time.I'm tired of trying and getting no where.My mother hated having kids and resented us.She told me she felt like she babysat her whole life.She needs to deal with her own issues before I can start any kind of mother/daughter relationship.

I can tell by the advice you give and how caring you are that you're a wonderful mother and you're kids are lucky to have you((Happy Mom's Day))

By Crystal915 on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 12:04 pm:


By Dawnk777 on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 02:09 pm:

{{{HUGS}}} Karen, that is sad, that your mom didn't really get to be that concert pianist. I like to play the piano, but don't want to work THAT hard! LOL!

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