Saturday, March 29, 2008

A letter to my mother

Dear Mom,

It's official. I've had enough.

Imagine my surprise today when I got a phone call that you and Dad had come to town a day earlier than you were supposed to. I had no idea - the last time that you and I talked, and that Kathie and I talked, y'all were coming on Sunday morning right before Dad's medal ceremony.

Then, I find out that you've not only come a day early, but you're spending the day with Richard since Kathie isn't coming home until tomorrow. And you've brought a big dinner to share. With him. And without us.

I figured after December's big fiasco, you surely wouldn't have meant to forget to include us. I mean really, you had made this big to-do about how it was Kathie's fault. All her fault. And you called her and made her feel like crap and she called me crying.

So when I called you today - obviously hurt - asking why you hadn't let me know that you were going to be in town today since we would've loved to spend time with you and your only reply was "Well, it's been a really long week," I knew right away.

It isn't her. It's YOU.

I can't figure out for the life of me what I've done to deserve being treated this way by you. Do you enjoy hurting someone who has lived most of her life trying to please you, usually to get smacked down? You have done a stellar job at making me feel like I'm worthless and a disappointment to you.

I've never made it a secret to those close to me that I think you're a shitty mother. I've never really been able to put my finger on it other than you are what I call Emotionally Unavailable.

I should've known back in college when my roomie Kim's brother had disappeared for a few weeks - he was in the middle of a very nasty separation from a woman who was clearly nuts and no one had heard from him for days. You and I were on the phone and someone kept trying to beep in on the other line - I asked you to hold on so I could see if it was her brother or not, and you were so pissed at having to be put on hold that you didn't talk to me for two weeks.

You see Mom, that is wrong. He was someone's brother, someone's child, who was clearly in trouble. And instead you had to make it all about how I "disrespected you" instead of caring anything about someone's child.

And then, there was your words to Kathie when Andrew died. There sat your oldest daughter, having just lost her youngest son and feeling absolutely broken, and your words to her were, "You'll get over it."

See, Mom, you don't get over it. Her child had died, Mom. That's not a pain I wish upon my worst enemy, let alone one of the people in the world I love the most. What the fuck were you thinking saying that to her?

And then there was Dad's illness. I actually saw you cry for the first time. You broke down and said you didn't know what you were going to do if anything happened to Dad. I was moved because honestly, Mom, I'd never seen you show one ounce of love to this man who gave you everything your heart ever desired and loves you to the ends of the earth. But once he was out of danger, all you could do was complain about having to go to the hospital every day, how many things you had to help him with, and on and on.

All you've ever cared about is yourself.

I was telling a friend of mine the other day that sometimes I feel like I put myself out there way too much for people. I wear my heart on my sleeve and tend to get hurt easily. But you know, I would rather show people love and affection and risk getting hurt instead of being heartless and cold. I should probably thank you for teaching me that.

My son has grown up being absolutely smothered with love. I tell him I love him no fewer than 10,937 times a day, give him lots of hugs and kisses, and let him know that I'm proud of him. And I should probably thank you for teaching me that too, since in my 38 years you have never told me ONCE that you love me.

So Mom, I'm done. Honestly, if Dad wasn't still alive I would probably cut all ties with you. You are toxic. I get absolutely nothing from our relationship other than constant hurt and disappointment. I am tired of constantly trying with you only to be brushed off. I am tired of trying to explain to my son why Grandma and Grandpa are here and we can't see them. And tonight, I had to explain to him why I have been crying all night. And that wasn't something I should've had to do.

Tomorrow, we will come to Dad's medal ceremony. I will hold my head up and be proud of my dad, because he is the parent I love and who has loved me from the moment I was born. Tomorrow is not about you, it's about him, and I refuse to let you take that away from him.

You know, Mom, you're missing out on a lot. But it's your choice, and I'm not going to force you to have a relationship with me and my family since you've made it painfully obvious that you don't care enough to even try.

It's your loss. And I hope you always remember that.


joansy said...

Awww sweetie - I want to jump on a plane, fly across the country and take you out for a $17 martini and then give you an enormous hug.

I hope you send the letter to her. I think she needs to hear it. What complete bullshit. I can't believe she did it again.

I hope tomorrow goes well.

There are times that I almost feel myself getting jealous of the childhood that my kids get to have -- not the material things, but the fact that they know they have a mom who loves and adores them and who wants to be with them. I know you know what I'm talking about - pretty much missing the relationship with my mom that I wish I would have had and that I deserved.

It sucks, but it's also great that you have friends who love and adore you and we always will.

Gretchen said...


I am at a complete loss here and don't even know what to say.

I hope the medal ceremony goes as well as it can. Hopefully at some point she'll see the error of her ways...

Call me if you ever need to talk.

Heather said...

Not much to say other than I am sorry. I hope the medal ceremony for your father was special.

Tanaya said...

Liz, I am so sorry. Being rejected by your Mom at 38 is worse than when you are a kid. You know realize how shitty it is. My heart hurts for you today. I hope for you and your father's sake that the medal ceremony went well.

The Piper Family said...

I am sorry to hear whar you are dealing with. I must have your mom's long lost sister as my mother. Hopefully the best revenge we can get is to be better mothers to our children!!

g-man said...


I hope it goes well for your dad too. I also hope you give that letter to your mother so she will understand why you don't call her.

Love ya, mean it (really :)

Mitzi Green said...

aw, suckage. if i've learned anything in 35 years (and i admit i've learned damned little), it's that you cannot and will not ever change them--all you can do is change your response. which is what it sounds like you're doing. and it sucks, but when you can really accept that you did all you could do, you'll feel better about it.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

I am so proud of you.