I am NOT my mother – or at least (in my dreams) I’m NOT!

My mother could be quite abusive when I was growing up.  She was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive from time to time – but I never thought of her that way until very much later in life.  She is still alive and 90 years old.  I haven’t seen her in person for the last five years, but here’s a pic of her today: ImageMy brother sent me this picture.  I was terribly shocked when I saw it!! My mom always kept herself up!  Her hair was always done, makeup just right, nails always polished etc;  Mom lives in North Dakota. (I live in Texas).

Don’t get me wrong – I love my  mother.  I’ve always loved her, even after I became an adult, addressed some of the “abuse issues” and recognized her shortcomings.  She did the best she could with what she had to work with.  Her upbringing wasn’t so great either.  I’m not excusing her negative behavior – just recognizing it for what it is.  

For as long as I can remember, I did not want to be like my mother. Primarily because of her “negative personality traits”. I really feel awful when those traits manifest themselves in me!! But it most cases – I really and truly – AM NOT MY MOTHER!

1) My mother has never sold a thing in her life. (I love to sell and have made a decent living selling everything from toys, home decor, furniture to insurance). Mom was a waitress almost her entire life. I think she was in her 70’s before she quit waiting tables.
2) My mother never dieted her entire life. Although she was never what I would consider overweight until she was over 40 – she has been ever since. No matter – she was happy just the way she was. You never heard the word “diet” leave her lips and she ate what she wanted always. (Not this girl! I started having weight issues when I started having children – and it’s been a daily battle ever since.)
3) My mother wasn’t “crafty” and hated sewing! She always worked outside the home, and when she was home you would find her tending to the needs of her family or watching TV. (I, on the other hand, have always loved crafts, sewing, gardening, decorating etc;) In fact, I recall at Christmas time mom wouldn’t decorate the house – so I would get whatever junk I could find in the house to decorate with so our home had a more “festive” flair during the holidays.
4) My mother doesn’t read. (I love to read and read every day! I read fiction and non-fiction alike and always have at least one book I’m reading). The only thing I ever witnessed my mother reading was the newspaper! I don’t think I ever saw her read a Women’s magazine – and I know I never witnessed her reading an actual book.
5) My mother wasn’t a “social butterfly” as I have so often been accused of being. Mom was a “workhorse” with a strong work ethic but beyond work and her home she didn’t do much. She definately didn’t “get together with the girls” ever, that I recall. She didn’t have a lot of close friends and everything she did outside of work and home she did with her husband.
6) My mom never baked cookies – or anything else for that matter! She was a good cook but my birthday cake was always from the bakery when I was growing up! (I love to bake and bake often. In fact, you will find me baking every day in December to make up goodie trays for friends. I baked with my kids when they were little and I now bake with the grandkids.)
7) My mom was not a church going woman. The only time I saw her darken the doorway of a church was when I was (as a child) singing in the choir. (She and dad would leave right after I was done singing). I went to church with playmates that had invited me and that early experience planted a hunger in me for the things of God and for church! (I’ve been more “in” than “out” of church for the past 30 years now – and am in church 3 times a week currently.)

For brevity’s sake I won’t go on about all the ways my mother and I aren’t alike…but would like to expound more on all the ways WE ARE ALIKE.

1) My mom & I are both very affectionate! If she knows you and likes you == get ready – cause a big wet sloppy “smooch” (as she would call it) is coming your way! We love to kiss and hug and hold the ones we love. It’s really kinda weird cause neither of my grown daughters are the “kissy, feely” type even though they got plenty of affection as children.
2) My mom & I both love to “nurture” with food. It’s the way we show our love for our family and friends. I get a great deal of comfort from knowing my pantry and frig are full and that I can whip something up if we get company. Mom always had a snack cupboard for the grandkids when they came over and was always cooking for her family.
3) My mom can be harsh, short-spoken, judgemental & snarky! I don’t like the adjectives, but this is the one I have battled all my life. I know I’ve offended friends and family by being too short-spoken or blunt at times! I hate that!! I’ve credited it to being brutally honest – which makes it more of a thing of pride. Well, I’m here to say, honest or not – it’s still not nice. I’ve worked very hard on this character trait that I inherited from my mom and I know it’s improved. It’s probably played a crucial role in why I am a believer now and try to stay “prayed up”. I recognize my inability to change the inner man without God’s help.
4) My mom instilled in me good grooming. She advised me to keep myself “fixed up” for my hubby – not laying around the house in sweats and always making sure my hair was done, and my clothes were pressed.
5) Mom and I both have a very solid work ethic! She was always a hard worker and extremely responsible about not calling in sick unless absolutely necessary. I emulate her in this regard.
6) My mom was a mother at 17. I was a mother at 18. Alcoholism and the abuse that comes along with it have played a big role in the women we are today.
7) Last but definately not least – I pray that I have my mother’s health history and have 30 more years to live – so that I can rectify some of the wrongs I’m done (see #3). Here’s what mom and I looked like 10 years ago when we traveled up North to celebrate her 80th birthday:
Mom & Linda 2004

Sorry for the “scrapbook” image – My hubby Jerry and I are pictured with mom on the left. My baby sister and I are pictured with her on the right.

Suffice it to say, I miss mom. But after seeing the pic that my brother Jim sent – I’m not sure I want to see her in the condition she is currently in. I would much rather remember her with her hair done, makeup on, smiling at the camera. What do you think?

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Black
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 20:50:24

    You need to visit your mother as often as you can. I try to visit my mother 3 Xs a year even if I can’t afford it. When I talk to my mother in the phone and she asks when are you coming? I hear it in her voice that she needs her family near her. My mother takes care if her 97 yr old mother that is home bound, I know you can relate Linda and has started having Alzheimer’s symptoms.

    Reply

    • bittygirl51
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 16:02:04

      Believe me, if finances would permit it, I would be there at least once a year to see mom. I don’t think your trip to see your mom is near as many miles as mine. It would require round trip airfare, or at least two nights in a motel going and coming back if we were to travel by car. The last time I was there, she had me in tears by the third day and I was ready to come home. While Jerry was arranging for an earlier flight, I reconsidered my decision and toughed it out the entire stay. I know now, that when I go – it will be brief.

      Reply

  2. A.PROMPTreply
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 22:04:25

    Oh, I can so relate to this…..your mom sounds just like my Gram at the end of her time here. In the last few years she really “let herself go.” This was such a surprise to me because from the time I was little I always associated Estee Lauder perfume with my Gram and always made jokes about her never missing her hair appointment, etc. She was absolutely insistent about her hygiene, until the last few years when she just sort of convinced herself it didn’t matter or something. I hated to see it. Hated it. But then again, I had some of my most “personal” visits with her during the last few years of her life and learned more about her than I ever knew before….I miss her everyday still..even after 3 years I think of her so much. I don’t know….I guess all I can say to you is family is about the people and not the trimmings all the time….in the end..I wouldn’t have traded those times with my Gram for anything….birds’ nest hair and all.

    Reply

    • bittygirl51
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 15:58:32

      My mother’s perfume was Prince Matchabelli (not sure how to spell it), and red lipstick and red fingernail polish. And she truly does have big, wet, sloppy smooches!! LOL I love her dearly even though she was the “bane of my existence”. I have some fond memories as well – not complaining in my blog, just saying. Thanks for feedback.

      Reply

  3. Diana Black
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 23:01:45

    I’ve heard the words, “your going to be just like your mother.” My mother and I are both professional dieter’s, we both struggle with our weight, my mother is an awesome cook, I’m ok, I do put TLC into it. We both show are love through good good. She is Southern Baptist, I’m Pentecostal. Mother always had to put in her face, color her hair and get her nails done, I’ve always been elnatural My mother has told me, she wasn’t a good mother. But who is a perfect the mother? I myself was not a good mother do to bad choices. Now Im an awesome grandmother.

    Reply

    • bittygirl51
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 15:56:12

      I agree, Diana. There are not perfect mothers or fathers for that matter. They don’t send us to school to learn how to be a parent and many of us started parenting at too young of an age! I’m thankful for the “blood bought” life and the new creature God has created in me. For without God, I would be most miserable!

      Reply

  4. beecee554
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 04:26:34

    Linda, only you can truly know and understand the relationship that you have with your mother. I will say that the only thing you “need to do” is take care of yourself. Ending up in tears will not be beneficial to her or you! The past is what it is. If you can’t visit her, don’t go on a guilt trip. Maybe phone calls and letters are what is best for all involved right now. Blessings to you……………Bonnie.

    Reply

    • bittygirl51
      Jul 01, 2014 @ 13:49:51

      Thanks, Bonnie. I really do love my mother and have very fond memories of her as well. Those memories are more of times when I was ill and she could be very caring and nurturing. She was and is a paradox, indeed! She is very hard of hearing and won’t wear a hearing aid, so I have discontinued calling and write her letters. The only problem there is my sister intercepts all her mail and therefore I don’t know if mom gets them, reads them etc; I am planning to start sending them to my brother who I have a good relationship with (don’t with Sis – she’s too much like mom)…I know that Jim will make sure mom hears what is in my letters.

      God Bless you, Bonnie for your kindness.

      Reply

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