"Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear MOTHER, Happy Birthday to you."
Ah, it's mother's birth-month again. August, for me, has this kind of... 'haze' around it. It's a full month of my dad saying, "your mom's birthday is coming up," or "your mom just had a birthday," or on the day of, "it's your mom's birthday, she shouldn't have to do this."
I GET IT.
She's the queen of the universe and the world falls down at her feet. She can do no wrong and deserves everything even when she gives nothing. She's perfect and all that. I get it. But can we talk about how much sense that doesn't make? Because I'm sure I can't be the only one to see how unconventional this is. Haven't you ever heard the phrase, 'you reap what you sow' or even 'what goes around comes around' or how about just plain old KARMA?
A lot of people here know that I have issues with my mother. I love her to death, don't get me wrong, I mean, she IS my mom. But her being a mother and me loving her doesn't mean that she does everything right. I sometimes think that my love for her is more of a requirement - if that makes sense. Like, I have to love her because she's my mom? That sounds shallow but it's the truth.
You know, emotional abuse is a funny thing. You can't see it, it leaves no physical marks, but it's so damaging. I'll be honest and say that this is the first time I've admitted to calling it 'emotional abuse.' The word 'abuse,' to me, has always meant something violent and severe. I was taught my whole life that I was too sensitive and over dramatic about everything under the sun. So I always thought that the way I was treated was normal and I was overreacting by saying it upset me or just being unhappy about my life. In my adult life, I've come to realize just how dysfunctional my family really was. With the help of my T, I've realized that my home houses a lot more emotional abuse than it does a family.
Of course, there was a period of time where my parents had split up, and that is what triggered the alcohol abuse for my mom. As an adult, I can see how much pain she was in, but as a scared 11 year old girl, I had no idea. I didn't understand why she had to bring home those stupid brown paper sacks that meant I wouldn't be getting any sleep because I had to protect my sisters and keep them from being scared. I didn't understand why mom would get so angry and turn the music up so loud. I couldn't possibly understand what she was gaining by hitting us because she had too much to drink. Even as an adult, I don't understand it. My adult mind can't grasp the concept of hurting a child.
I do not have my own kids yet, but I do have a niece and I know that no matter how old she gets, I could NEVER lay a hand on her. I could never do that. I love her too much. So how a mother can do that to her own kids? I'll never understand. I know the alcohol played some part in that, but I've been drunk and I still don't see how alcohol makes it okay to hurt a child. I may have been close to being a teen, and my older sister WAS a teen, but that's no excuse for my mother to connect her fist to my sister's face.
So, I guess that's more the physical abuse aspect of my childhood. But, it goes hand in hand with the emotional abuse.
My mother was too busy drinking to do any of the normal 'mom' stuff. I didn't get hugs or 'I love yous' before bed. I didn't get a 'be safe' when I left for school. My mom was usually sleeping off the previous night's binge when I left for school. But you see, my mother was careful to make sure she looked like an A+ mom. She came to all of my volleyball games, all of my band concerts, and all of my sister's choir concerts. She showed up. So I will give her credit for that. But to me, all I wanted was to feel like she loved me. I just wanted her to hug me or to tell me she loved me. I wanted her to care enough to memorize the clothes on my back when I left for school just in case something happened. For once, I wanted her to act like my feelings mattered and not teach me to push them down until they dissipate.
I was 11 years old the fist time I intentionally hurt myself. My mom was angry. I was 13 when she found out I was doing it again. She was mad again. I was 16 the next time she saw the cuts on my thighs. This time was different though. She didn't understand it so I pleaded with her and cried and told her how sad I was. This time, she said I was doing it for attention. I asked if I could try therapy and she told me no. She told me no to getting help with a problem that she didn't understand and told me she couldn't help me with. That, to me, also didn't make any sense. If she couldn't help me, why couldn't I seek professional help? I was trying to get better.
To this day, I am laughed at and mocked for having emotions. I am taught not to cry when I feel like everything is falling apart. I have to be the same statue that she is, otherwise I am a disappointment and an embarrassment.
So being that her birthday was yesterday, I've had some tough decisions to make. First let me say that I don't care who you are or how old you are, EVERYONE likes to feel important on their birthday. Everyone wants their social media to blow up with birthday wishes and everyone wants to blow out every candle on the cake.
My birthday was less than 6 months ago. My mom had told me that when my dad got back in town, they would take me to celebrate. On the day of my birthday, I received a text from my father, my mother said the words "happy birthday" to me, and I got to FaceTime with my niece. That was it. Dad came back to town, but there were no celebrations. No dinner, no gifts, no cake. And that hurt me because they KNOW how much I love my birthday and they told me we would be doing something and we just never did. I'm fine with it now.
What I am not fine with is the fact that this woman who has NEVER been what I needed her to be, who never did anything for my birthday, now wants me to hand her the world on a silver platter. She expects gifts and cards and dinners. But what about me? Am I being too petty? She is leaving in two months to go to Hawaii for her birthday/anniversary gift from my dad. So I don't think she needs much more than that.
I've had a couple of people tell me that it's my decision what I do and that I should only do what I feel comfortable doing for her. I've had other people roll their eyes at me when I say I'm not doing anything because I'm being too childish.
Well, here's the deal. I'm going to do SOMETHING because if I don't, the guilt will eat me alive. Regardless of if I want to or not, I have to do something. It won't be big, nor should it be because again, you reap what you sow. I'm sure my father will do something for her when he gets back in town. I think from me, a nice Facebook post and some flowers will suffice. I always plan some elaborate thing with my sisters for Mother's Day and for her birthday, but I'm not doing it this year, and that will just have to be okay.
So I hope she has the best birthday ever and blows out every candle on her birthday cake. I'll be waiting for my turn with the candles next year. Until then, I'm going to feel how I want to feel about her and her birthday. And at her party, I'll cry if I want to.
Until next time,