Sunday, May 11, 2014

WORDS I'VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO SAY

Image: eventsstyle.com

I've never been able to say those four little words because the last time I saw my mother, I was too little to talk.

My mother didn't pass away. She left. I wasn't told any reason why. She never tried to contact me and I didn't know enough about her to attempt contacting her.

Of course I always wondered about her. I'd see women out around town who looked old enough to have a kid my age, who I found whatever resemblance in, and wonder could that be her? I wondered if she'd ever come back or call or write a letter, if she thought of me on my birthday, at Christmas, on Mother's Day.

Today's always been a strange holiday for me. Growing up, I never knew what to say when other kids would ask what present I'd be getting my mother or what "mom gift" I planned to make in art class. I've never known anyone else whose mother left and I didn't know any kids whose mother had passed away, so the idea of not having one was a foreign concept to everyone around me. What do you mean you don't have a mom? Other kids never knew what to say to me, either.

I did finally learn more about her, once I was well into adulthood. Now I've seen pictures, and it turns out there isn't a resemblance. So much for all my childhood people watching; even if I had encountered my mother out somewhere, I doubt I would've given her a second glance.

I've heard quite a few details of her life, but she's still more of an abstract concept than a real person. We haven't met. I still don't know why she left, she's no more interested in playing the mom role now than she ever was and I'm not interested in trying to force it. People have said I should try anyway, that she might "come around", but I'm not the only kid she abandoned and it hasn't gone any differently for the others. There won't be any teary, talk-show-worthy reunions in my future, and honestly, I'm okay with that. It's something I accepted long ago and finding her hasn't changed it.

Is that depressing? I guess it could be, but it's really just the truth. Maybe it would be different if I hadn't become a mother myself, but for the past fifteen years, I've been able to celebrate today from the mom side of things, and that's more than good enough. My daughter and I have a great relationship, thanks in part to my wanting to be the mother I was never able to have.

I don't write this to be a downer, but to put it out there for anyone else whose mom isn't in the picture by choice: you're not so alone as you might think. There are those of us out here who know exactly how it feels to never be able to celebrate today from the kid's perspective, and how it is to have an absentee mother every other day of the year.

I also don't write this to take anything away from all the great moms out there, especially since I like to think I'm at least semi-great myself and I enjoy having a special day as much as the next person. Maybe more than the next person; we tend to go all out for holidays in this household, so I did have a special day on the mom side of things.

For those who find themselves in the same place on the kid side of things, just remember you're not standing there alone.


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