I have not talked about them here because, honestly, it has been too painful for me to think about them for so long, but memories, thoughts, and pain are all too consuming now
so I had to find a way to release some feelings. The only solution that came to mind was the soothing relief I feel, if only temporarily, when I put fingers to keyboard and start to tap away.
It seems strange for me to permit thoughts of them to enter my mind, as I spend a great deal of energy blocking them; but, as I draw in a deep breath right now and allow myself to type this, I am at the same time allowing myself to remember. I have to children, daughters; beautiful, talented, intelligent, adult daughters.
My head is spinning, I feel dizzy, nauseated, my heart feels like it is beating out of my chest as I cannot seem to get the words out as rapidly as my head is thinking them. I sense I need to write this, and then file my thoughts deep away in the furthest recesses of my mind, covering them with a hard callous, so I cannot be hurt by them anymore. I thought I had been doing so well, pretending not to think about them, deferring the conversation when somebody brought them up in conversation, acting as if I was not hurt that my family thought I was the quintessential bad mother. Everyone around me acted as if I spent my children’s lives screaming “No wire hangers” and whipping them every chance I had. I didn’t.
I loved my girls with all my heart, I still do; but I was never meant to be a mom. The example I had from my own mother was non-existent at best, abusive at worst. When I was younger, I hated babysitting and being around young children, preferring to be alone or playing with stuffed animals and Barbie Dolls. Quite contrarily though, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, figure that one out.
But, when I became pregnant with my first daughter at the age of 20, I had been married for a year, and although not planned, I was happy and decided we could make it work; she was going to make us a family. When she was born, I spent every second with her; my parents were shocked when the babysat her for 2 hours when she was 6 months old and she screamed and cried the entire time, she had never been away from me for a moment.
My second daughter was born 15 months later; I adored her as well. I thought I really had the mommy thing down; I truly grew into being a mom. We lived on an incredibly tight budget; I learned to sew and often made them matching outfits out of sheets purchased from the second hand store, I took them on outings every day to any free event I could find or even the park or library, and I entertained them by reading and doing crafts. We were never bored, there was always something to read, to paint, to draw, or even to just lip sync to.
I cooked all of our meals from scratch since it was cheaper than going out to eat, often perusing cookbooks all week long to find exactly what they would like. We would go on long bike rides by the river; me pulling them in their cart, them sitting with their little helmets clanking together eating apples and singing little songs I had taught them. Their dad was hardly ever around, preferring to spend his time playing music with his friends and eventually having an affair with a 17 year-old girl who worked for him.
Eventually, their dad left us on December 31, 2004; we moved on and they were adopted three years later by a man who loved him like they were his own. My life changed in a very dramatic way as well; I was no longer a stay-at-home mom who could spend every waking moment indulging myself with my children, playing games and savoring every precious moment. I had been left in an incredibly harsh way by a man I thought was supposed to be there; I had been crippled by emotions, humiliated, and panicked.
My reaction was to go to work full-time and to go to school to obtain a college degree; additionally, the often times well-covered symptoms of my bipolar manic depression disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder all started to shine through. It was a dramatic time for all of us, and it was not long before I moved out of the house, leaving my girls with their new father; I would not have done so if he was not a loving, caring, and stable man. He was the best parent for them at the time.
We got back together a few times, trying to work things out, but we were just too different; but we always loved the girls no matter how little we had in common. The girls came first with both of us; they did very well in school, were given almost everything they wanted, and knew they were loved.
Finally, when my oldest was a senior in high school and the youngest was a junior, my then husband and I decided it was time to end the marriage. The news was devastating to the girls; he was their dad for all intents and purposes, and they loved him. The oldest had been having a lot of problems communicating with him at the time, boyfriend problems; nobody was good enough for her. But, the youngest was moving with him to the new house he purchased.
Everything seemed to be working out mostly smoothly, as we remained friendly; we never had any animosity, we just were not in love and did not have much in common. He was happy for me when I started to date a man I fell in love with, only wanting to see me happy, and life went on.
The girls were a different story. My new boyfriend was incredibly generous to them for many years; collectively, we spent a great deal of money on them. We paid for my oldest daughter’s cell phone bill for 5 years after she turned 18; we bought her a car when she had her first child, not to mention so many other things we paid for. The youngest cost us less money, but we still paid for things; we paid the deductible on her insurance when she had to have surgery one year, and we bought her a washer and dryer when she bought a new house.
So, what went wrong?
This past year, my boyfriend and I went through an incredibly difficult time where we have spent some time apart because he could not deal with my mental health issues and things I have done in the past, namely the attempted suicide and the depression. So, he sent me away to spend some time with my children and family for a while; he also stopped filtering such an abundance of money to the girls. My allegiance to him has not faltered, I saw his point and we have been working through everything.
However, my children took a stand against him as well as me. I had been depressed at my situation in general; I was not taking things very well but was doing the best I could. I was staying at my oldest daughter’s house; by then she had a baby boy who was about to turn one and was pregnant with a girl, they would be the same distance apart as her and her sister.
I was thrilled to be with my grandson, not so much at first, but he grew on me; I loved getting up with him every morning. I wasn’t at her house long before she started to depend on me; her husband would go to school every day of the week and I would babysit for them.
My boyfriend still sent me money every month to take care of my bills as well as to pay for my groceries and anything else I may need so I would not be a burden on my children, he just wasn’t paying for anything extra. I just could not get out of my funk because I wanted to go home and be with him. However, I did the best I could, playing with my grandson, hanging out with my daughters, wanting to enjoy their company.
One day, though, we went to Starbucks for a mother-daughter-daughter talk; I wanted to talk to them and just lay everything on the table about how I felt. I knew my mom had told them some things about me; my family can be terribly gossipy. Telling them how much I loved them, tears filling my eyes, I sat there across the table looking at their stoic faces; I had no idea what to do.
“Mom, we don’t think it is fair that you burdened us with your issues growing up,” one of them said, I have no idea which one. My head was spinning by then as I realized what they were talking about.
“Yeah, mom,” said the other, “you were a terrible mom. You were crazy and we should not have had to know you had a mental illness.”
I sat there at that table thinking how I wished one of those times I had tried to commit suicide that I had been successful. I just did not know which time, though; before or after I had them. I love them with all my heart, I truly do; they are beautiful, intelligent, and sometimes charming girls; but I didn’t raise them to be so hurtful and mean.
They have not talked to me in months; I heard from their father that they want a need a real mom in their life, not somebody who gets depressed and is sad. Wow. I don’t know what to say to that other than the fact that I have been there for them through so much.
If I don’t make it through this, I just want somebody to tell them how much I loved them and that I thought the world of them. That is all I can say, time for me to close the door again. Time to be flat.