i went to get some stuff out of my mother's garage this last time i was up north and something i didn't think would happen did.
i think i saw her from a different perspective. it was sad.
maybe i was just being nostalgic, looking at the things i had stored in boxes from my childhood. dresses she made me, books we read together. when i look at those things i still have this weird frustration. i'm like a girlfriend who was lead on. or wife beaten. i look at this person and the things they did to hurt me and they seem so careless, like i meant nothing. but there are these things i can look back on and say ''but wait, she made me this dress because i wanted nothing more than to be a snow princess'' or ''she read me this book every night during the good times" and i get so confused. i loved this person and they said they loved me. but they did all these things to show me that they didn't love me. most of the times all i can remember are the bad things, the good were few and far between. but that day i was surrounded in boxes of love.
i know my mother would never view herself the way i do, and i dont think she would even agree with the new perspective i saw of her. i have no idea how she sees herself, but i'm not really interested in that. i've tried to understand the mind of my mother before and i'm not really sure that can be achieved by a sane person.
really my perspective of my mother changed for the first time when i got married. before getting married i had always seen her just as my mom, dysfunctional and a bit irresponsible yes, but manipulative and crazy, no. i always defended her to my aunt or anyone else that i would hear say things about how she parented or lived life. when i got married it was like i stepped out of the delusion and saw reality, leaving her behind. i saw from the outside how she talked to me, i saw from the outside what reality was to her and i saw from the outside how much she cared about her children, or at least how she acted out her "care". i have held this perspective for the past four years. seeing her as an adult who should be responsible for themselves but always manages somehow not to be. i've seen her as a lazy hurtful mother. i've seen her as woman addicted to men. but i've seen her as a strong person who has decided these things for herself. someone who can, and should, but doesn't take responsibility for them.
when we went to her house i just saw a lady getting older, who wont have a lot to show for her life once she's gone. i just looked around and as every bad memory and embarrassment flooded me, i realized that she's still living in the life that i abhor. the past that i'm so desperately trying to let go of, is the life that still surrounds her, and i dont quite understand how but she's just ok with it. maybe she's not and she doesn't say. maybe she's so used to it. i dont know. maybe its because she really is delusional.
i looked at this house, filled with clutter and papers as it always has been. i saw the kind of dust and dirt that old houses have, the kind that can't be cleaned. i took in the parts of this broken house, bathroom door that doesn't shut, the uneven floor, the kitchen that holds a rack for my mothers clothes and her dresser, but no kitchen table. its all the same. its the same as it has always been. i left it but it stayed. its not about the house, the house is the outside. its the embodiment of what goes on on the inside. when we live in constant chaos in our home, when messiness is the way of living for years on top of years, i believe there's messy inside. the mess is still there. i have moved away from it and i have been fighting to forget it and leave it. i try to make everything about my life the opposite of it or better than it. i try to make sure i learn from it. but she's still there, just living in it. i've never thought that the alcohol was her problem. ever. i think that was just a symptom. i think the problem is inside of her. i dont know what it is, i go back and forth thinking its not so bad, then talking to seth and realizing it is. i think sometimes shes just an irresponsible person, then i think she's actually delusional and doesn't have a grasp on reality, then i think she has chemical imbalances that she needs to figure out. i have no idea if she's actually crazy or not, i just know that when she became sober who she is didn't change.
so i look at the way she lives and i just wonder. i wonder if she is still living in a mess because she's still a mess. i wonder if its habit. i wonder if she notices or cares. i wonder if she likes it. i wonder if she has really changed since two years ago, the last time i really knew anything about her life. the tidbits i hear from those around her make me say no, but i really have no idea because i dont know her. the thing is though, even if i did know her, i dont trust her. not even a little tiny bit. i could never trust that she's ok because she says she is. i could never trust that she's not dating because she says she isn't. i dont trust that she loves me because she says she does.
i have no way of knowing how ok or not ok she really is.
i dont know what she considers to be the best thing in her life, what i feel i've seen take precedence in her life is men and herself. but i know what the best things in her life are, they are me, my sister, my brother and my children. and only half of those things are in her life.
i was thinking about what she'll have left when she dies, or even when she is very old, i mean shes starting to collect cats.. but as far as people go i wonder... will she be left alone? will my brother and sister love her as i haven't? will they forgive her? will they detach as well? she wont have money or a home of her very own. she wont have a lot of lifelong friends. odds are she wont have much family, because they are always in and out as well. its hard not to be in and out with her.
as i watched her kiss arabella and say hello to nola, a baby she doesn't even really know, i teared up. on one hand i dont want to be the one keeping my daughters from her and her from them. on the other hand, i dont think i am. i think she is. i think she already made that decision. but where do i go from here? do i keep waiting for her to be good enough to be in my life? because it might never happen. do i just accept and move on, leaving her behind? do i risk the chance of being hurt by her again and let her in? do i risk the chance of her hurting my children?
i have this weird sense of safety for nola, this weird sense of her really being all mine because my mother hasn't known her. i feel like i betrayed arabella and myself by giving a part of her to my mom. by letting her grow to love her, and nola hasn't had that chance. it makes me feel safe, even though i know its wrong.
i dont enjoy being around her, i dont get along with her and her lacking sense of reality makes me uneasy and uncomfortable. when i'm with her i have visions of my childhood and when i leave her i feel heartbreak for her and a stomach ache for myself. but i dont want all of that to decide whether my children get to know their grandmother. i want to be objective, if that's possible. i want to endure the pain and the discomfort and the frustration and the disgust i feel when being with her, if its what's best for them. i just dont know. i have no idea.
i know it sounds harsh to say that those are the things i feel when i'm around her, but i cant really control those things. if i could erase the past and take all those feelings away, i would. if i trusted that she was sorry and she was changed i would forgive her and never think of it again. but i can't forget when i'm constantly looking out for those things to pop up again, and i would be a fool to act like they wont.
when she's in my life i feel uneasy all the time. like i'm about to get deceived or trapped.
i wish it could be easy. i wish i could just handle being around her, i wish when i let her in she wouldn't seep in little by little until i feel like she's drowning me.
i wouldn't even be thinking about letting her back in if it weren't for the combination of seeing her and realizing just how sad the state of her life is and could be, and knowing how much my grandmother loves her and wants us to talk.
it would be so easy to shut her out forever and walk away. but i dont want to be a daughter that hurts her just because she has hurt me repeatedly. i dont want to stoop to her lows and treat her as though she doesn't mean anything. and more than all that i want to have a beyond good reason for keeping my daughters from her when they ask me one day. i never ever want them to feel like i kept someone out of their life who loved them because i was being selfish. i want to right by them, and even by her.