This week, in this universe, on this planet, in this decade, in this year, in this month, my Mother and I fought via text message
Yes, you read that right.
Maybe, you’re taken aback by the fact that someone from my Mom’s generation was actually savvy enough to argue via text. Hey, I won’t hold that against you because, aside from my dangerously smoldering temper, ready to flare into white hot at any moment, I’m pretty astonished too.
Maybe it’s the fact that we fought at all.
Maybe you’re sad that we fought over text message.
If you’re the one percent of the population that doesn’t think you have a complicated relationship with your Mom, (*cough-cough* My Husband! *cough-cough*) you may be beyond understanding of any of this but, if you happen to be one of the 99% of the population that does think and feel that you have a complicated relationship with your Mom, you may understand.
I’d love to go into the history of me and my Mum and, what could have possibly contributed to this “fight” but, I’ll spare us. I’ll spare me the typing and you the reading and, if you would be all, “that’s really decent of you” I will be all, “Thanks. I really needed to hear that”.
In other words, let’s just be nice to each other. You, the reader, me, the writer.
So…my Mom and I “fought” via text message a week or two before this last incident.
November 27th is my Mom’s birthday. It also happens to be the day that I first met my Husband.
A couple of days before my Mom’s birthday, a mass text was sent from her phone that smacked of a suicide note to me.
No, she did not say she was going to kill herself but, it was so damn haunting and sad and final that, I was alarmed. She had been sad before but, never sent her feelings in a text and, not like she said.
I texted her back, received no reply. I called and, got her voicemail. I left a message, letting her know that I cared about her, loved her and if she needed to talk, I was available.
Still concerned, I called my brother Matt. Matt couldn’t do much, living too far away so, I got my other brother, Jason’s, number from him.
I called Jason and, Jason agreed to check on Mom. (I should mention that my family lives in Washington State and that I live in Florida.)
Too antsy to wait on Jay, I called and he told me that all was fine. He had gone to the house my Mom lived in. Mom was laying on the couch and, she had given her phone to our little brother, Christian, so he could field the calls and text messages that came as a result from her text message.
Aside from some other family drama, (which included me being utterly frustrated by my Brother Jason, being non too kind on a voice mail and talking to my family in Idaho) I felt relieved.
I received a text message from my Mom a couple of days later, she wanted me to know that she was fine, just going through some “stuff” and didn’t want to talk about it, wanted to be left alone.
Okay. I get that. Fine.
Besides, I was kind of mad.
I was so worried about my Mom. She sent this text message that I thought was totally out of character. I know she doesn’t have the easiest life. From what I hear and understand, there are a lot of challenges to her life and, sometimes she doesn’t receive the support she needs. Since I have moved to Florida and, especially since I have become a Mother and care for my 15 month old Son everyday, I do not always have the time to talk one on one.
When my WA family calls me, it is 11 pm. I am not awake to talk or, after having a long day of caring for my Son and not seeing my Husband, I am spending time with my Husband. Talking with anyone on the phone is at least an hour. I know this. I know that it is before I call. If I cannot give an hour, I do not call.
So, I do not call and talk as often.
My WA family lives a different lifestyle. I feel…different from them. Not better just, different. I AM different. I HAVE changed.
It is not easy to feel the familial love and friendship as I once did but, I try when we do talk.
I feel like I have more in common with my younger brothers since I have a child of my own but, we are still different people, with different lives, only childhood memories that we may or may not remember together and, the experience of having children of our own but, our morals, dreams, hopes, struggles and lives are not the same.
I felt so close to my brothers Matt and Jay that, it hurts sometimes that we are no longer close but, I understand. I hold onto the hope that, one day, we’ll be able to sit down together and talk and be as close as we were when we were children. I hope.
What hurts me the most, what disturbs me the most, what alienates me the most is my Mother.
I had my Husband delete the text conversation that my Mother and I had, before I went to bed on the last night I “spoke” with her so, I cannot say anything verbatim and, even if I could, I wouldn’t. It is not about what was written word for word, that hurt so much.
Am I afraid of telling you what she said? Yes and no. This blog is public. It could shade and, even define opinion and, I am afraid of myself, that she could be right.
She said she didn’t even know me anymore, that I had changed. She didn’t go into specifics. All you need to know is that our text “argument” started with a confusion over money.
The text argument before that was because of her birthday. I want to write this because, if she happens to read it, I want her to feel that I was making an effort to be fair. I write, “making an effort” because, IF she were to read this or, someone in my family were to read this and let her read this or tell her verbatim, I want her to know, any which way that:
1.) I am trying to keep it private, even if I have the knowledge that she or, another family member may wish to make open, verbal, warfare.
2.) That I am accepting MY part in this with a modicum of privacy
My Mother was hurt and upset with me that I did not call and verbally wish her, “Happy Birthday”.
I did text her.
I feel that she would scorn this but, I still want to say that I had every intention of calling her. I wanted to wait until my Husband was home so that my Husband, me and our Son could all wish her happy birthday verbally, together, even if it was left in a voicemail message but, as the night wore on and, my Husband came home from his twelve hour work day, we found that we were exhausted. We vegetated on the couch, my head in his lap, as we watched television, after our Son went to sleep.
Maybe, as a throw back to the world before text capabilities, a text message that said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” wouldn’t matter but, to me, a product of the future, it did.
To my Mom, turning 50, who sent out, (what I thought was near, if not totally, suicidal) a fiftieth birthday message asking everyone to leave her alone, who seemed to not enjoy turning 50...I thought that the last thing she wanted, (respecting her wishes) was any fuss…
I must admit, I was not admitting to or, paying any attention to the inner voice of my gender or, my inherited DNA and carbon copied personality traits, (as much as I may LOATHE them) because if I had, I would have, should have known that all my Mom wanted, despite her protestation of turning 50, was a big fuss that she could be bashful, disdainful and disgusted by.
Regardless of how it annoyed and confused anyone else.
Ah…to be female.
So, I got called on the carpet about my Facebook usage, (um…I’m THIRTY Mom. THIRTY. I have LONG ceased to feel threatened or fearful or guilty about breaking your rules or being my own person or…whatever) and, I called her out on using me as a scapegoat.
Hey, Mom? If you were upset about me not calling you, not talking with you on your birthday, why not just say so? I mean, maybe I’ll always be your little girl, maybe I’ll always be a child to you, (ACK and GRRRRR and SNEER and ABSOLUTE LOATHING) but, I feel pretty confident about handling your upset in a mature way. This means, no guilt, no manipulation, just straight forward,
“Hey! I didn’t get a call from you on my birthday! I wasn’t really digging turning fifty but, I would have felt a lot better hearing from you and, it hurt me that you didn’t call”.
I would have said, “I’m sorry Mom! I meant to call! Did you get my text? I was thinking about you! I meant to call but, me and Mark were so exhausted and, Colin was hard to get to bed. It is sometimes challenging to have a toddler and, one of our challenging days happened to be on your birthday”.
But, it didn’t happen that way.
My Mom did send an apology via text two days later then, we got into it again a week or two later. I had said that I was going to send some old PC games to my Step dad years ago and, forgot.
I didn’t want to promise but, I wanted to carry out.
My Mom offered to pay for shipping charges.
A lot of stuff in-between and….
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
There was confusion via text.
My Mom sent a text that I perceived as insulting and I got my hackles up.
I hung onto the threads of my temper and patience and then….and then….
I couldn’t take it anymore and just went full on honest. Painfully, blindingly honest. I tried to be polite. I tried to be eloquent but, I STILL felt misunderstood.
Minutes later, I was blasted by several subsequent texts by my Mom.
In a whirlwind of verbal sword fighting, I sat reading what she wrote, anguished over the misunderstanding, frustrated beyond belief and, most of all…suffering deep, gaping, gushing wounds to my heart and soul.
I felt as if I was a former shell of skin, laying in ribbons, bleeding, aching with pain and fire.
After the wave of shock, disbelief, confusion and frustration passed, a white hot hate consumed me and, as fast as the hate blazed, it iced over, becoming entombed in a glacier, higher than the other glaciers of pain, hate, hurt, (oh, mostly hurt) to become the highest, most glaring point in the north pole of my heart.
It’s hard to pick out what she wrote that hurt the most.
“I don’t know you anymore”
“After you called me Bitch” (I NEVER called her a Bitch, I said that what she said regarding something was bitchy”
“I had to find out that Colin was in the hospital from someone else on Facebook” (Oh god…oh god…that one hurts pretty bad. It gives me a lot of anger)
I can’t even remember the rest and, I don’t want to.
I get a lot of…”bad” therapy from venting with my Husband. I say a lot of mean, hateful, angry things in the days that have followed but, that night….
I cried hard. I whimpered. I ached so damn offing much. She left feeling like a raw, blood and mucus covered infant, balled up into the fetal position, trying to staunch the waves of pain that blasted at me every time my damnable memory and mind echoed the words I had read that she wrote in anger and hate and sadness and whatever else she felt and blasted at me.
I NEVER cry, I NEVER whimper.
I cried out to my Husband, between gasps of air in the pauses between sobs, “I’M THIRTY! I’M THIRTY! THIS SHOULDN’T HURT ME ANYMORE! WHY DOES THIS HURT? WHY DOES THIS HURT? THIS SHOULDN’T HURT ANYMORE!” and then, I could speak no more.
…and maybe she’ll read this or, someone will tell her (and really, I hope she doesn't read it, and I hope no one tells her. I mean that and, if you don't think I do, please contact me and I will have a one on one with you and we can hash that out but, please believe me because i'm busy and I really don't want to convince you or anyone else, I just want to feel and I want to be me and vent and if you want to be done with this, just leave. You don't need my permission, just leave.)
I am STILL so very, very angry.
I am STILL so very, very hurt.
I STILL don’t want to talk to her.
I STILL feel like I hate her.
I STILL call her dirty names that I could not possibly say out loud to anyone other than my Husband and, even HE is shocked and, HE was in the military for quite some time and not so moralistic as to not swear.
I STILL don’t want her in MY life but, EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, my Son’s life.
Not until she understands. Not until I can tell her the hurt I’ve been harboring in my heart for so, so, so long, since before Colin was born, since before he was in my womb.
Not until she will listen. I mean, REALLY listen. Not just hear me and spout off advice and talk over me but, REALLY listen and respond appropriately because she listened.
Not until she PROMISES me that she won’t leak her brand of angry, manipulative, guilt-ridden crazy on me.
We have our issues together. We have our issues with the people we married, with the people we gave birth to. We have issues with the blows life has dealt us. We have issues with ourselves but, as important as those things are to us, individually, and our health, what I want to put to rest is US. Mother and Daughter. Woman and Woman. Friend and Friend. Wife and Wife. Mother and Mother. Human Being and Human Being.
I can’t do that until the Tsunami of anger has receded, leaving an astonishing, naked truth, ugly and beautiful, in it’s wake.
She will probably hate me for this.
I hope to god that she doesn’t want to cut me even more.
I have struggled to keep myself from taking the bait, from feeding into my temper and anger.
If anything, I have learned that I have achieved a level of self control when it comes to my temper. Startling, I find that I feel more of my temper but, I am able to hold it in check, to a degree.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll master this yet.
It’s been a long time since I’ve called out for my Mom.
I don’t think I ever will again.
That night that I felt so wounded, I lifted my head up from my Husband’s chest, gripped his shirt in my hands and, with every feeling of love and passion I had in my heart said:
“Do not EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER let me do this to our Son, to Colin. NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER. Do not let me do this, please. Tell me, please. Stop me, please. Do not EVER let me make him feel like this, ever”.
There is a quote, the author I should remember but, the words echo in my mind and heart often:
Mother is the name of God on Children’s lips.
MY hands, MY words, MY heart, MY opinions, MY teachings affect and teach Colin. Everything spoken and unspoken. Every gesture or non-gesture. Every interaction. He watches, he learns and, throughout it all, he looks to me and his Father for guidance and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Colin wants praise, he wants limits, he wants a safety net in which to test everything. He needs us to be a guiding light, to trust we’ll be there for him, ALWAYS.
There is no age limitation on children. When a child turns 18, it does not mean they are to be turned out, to be left failing and scared like I felt, like some other people I know felt.
Colin, my sweet, darling baby Colin is ALWAYS my child.
We will fight. We will say unkind things to each other. We may go days without speaking to each other but, I hope, oh god, I hope, that always, always there is love at our foundation, a light to find our way back.
This I have learned but, not in a kind way, in a desperation, in a, “I’m NEVER going to be like THAT”.
…and I’m not.
6 months ago