Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm Tired Of Playing The Game

I'm never sure how much of my life to put here in my bit of the universe.

I tend to stick to observations, saving my intense personal stuff for my good ol' pen and paper journal and another journal I don't advertise. Like many people, I censor, not wanting some things that open up scars, wanting to play this role, I guess, of things being spiffy.

The things that have happened in my life gave me great strength, along with soul scarring sorrow. I grew up with a parent who has always chosen other people over me... from her son that has been excised from my life to her friends to other women my age... and all held out as what I should be. She carried this over to the treatment of my children, calling those she was a nanny for later in her life 'grandchild', yet, she didn't come to HRH's wedding, citing numerous excuses... leaving my child without the grandmother she adores at the biggest day of her life.

I raised my children with the motto WWMD? What would Mother do? And, I did the opposite.

Perhaps I'm lucky in the knowledge I am not the only one she treats with such coldness, finding excuses, holding me out as the one who is wronging her... any chaos she is part of, she walks away from, denying culpability. She has done things morally that I cringe from even thinking about, defending her actions, always removing herself from the equation. Her son helped bankrupt one of Mother's oldest friends, and Mother says she is "....tired of listening to her go on and on about that mess!". That mess left a 78 year old woman caring for her disabled 24 year old grandson, who went from a comfortable lifestyle to struggling to make ends meet. All of this is laid at the GoldenChild's feet. Mother walked away with a home bought and paid for... while her friend cries every month, wondering what will happen to her grandson, since all of her investments are gone.

I was so in need of her approval, never forthcoming, that I married someone as narcissistic as she is--continuing to slog forth in the Valley of Disapproval.

I have to accept my own responsibility in all of this.. I continue to hope. I keep thinking if I do the right thing, if I portray her in the right setting, the Universe will give me the Mother I always wanted. I have to remind myself this will not happen; she didn't just wake up this way, she's always been this way. I will never be talented enough, 'Christian' enough, pretty enough, nothing enough. I can still hear one of her friends saying, on the walk up to my house, "If you start on that child (in the South, you remain 'the child') one more time, I'm walking out!" I can travel to care for her, help pay her bills, hold her hand, everything I should do and be.. and it's not that it's not enough, it's that she doesn't love me, and that is that.

What adds to the whole mix is, when she's treating me the way she treats other people, with full on laughter and this amazingly attractive personality she has in a crowd, we have great fun. We have had a session of 'trading' jewelry... I saw something of hers I wanted, and offered a trade. We dumped out all of my junk jewelry, and she went though, bargaining with me, laughing, hiding it in her bra... finally, I had my ring and she had a bag of nice costume jewelry. "Where did you get this nice stuff, Quin?", she asked. "You gave it to me last year for the girls to use as dresss up stuff." was the answer, sending her into waves of laughter.

Normally, if I have something she wants, she takes it, not saying a word. What is hers is hers, what is yours is hers. The number of times I've walked into the homes of one of the two women she chose over me, and seen something of mine, in unbelievable.

Don't get me wrong, as a Nanny, she took on two families with kids, and those children adore her, as she adores them. She was given full rein in how they were raised, whereas I was wary... still, those families love her as a full blooded family member (see friends we choose comment below). And, their full on acceptance of who she is, keeps her visiting them, not one of her blood children, for holidays. She continues to defend her son, regardless of what he's done, and tosses Brother and I aside, in his favour...even though we are the ones who bail her out every time. These people she's made 'family' never question that none of her children speak to her, well, I did, barely. One child would be that, that particular child has an issue. All three of us? Two of us citing the same reasons, the same sense of distance and always being sixth best? Nah, that's at her feet. Her son is batshit crazy, a thief, someone you'd not want to know and her current anger is over the fact Brother and I refuse to 'make amends' with him, to even speak of him. I mean, really.

I know of people who have had far worse situations with a parent, this knowledge of being abandoned, of being left with that understanding no matter what, it will never change. It doesn't stop you from trying. It doesn't stop the pain. I am blessed with my Brother and SIL, who have formed a family with me. I have my children, who are my breath. I have friends that give me reason to thank God and the Universe for the amazing people that they are, allowing me to remember friends are family we choose. Sometimes, you get really lucky and your family is someone you choose to be family--someone you are happy to have in your life. I am fortunate my Aunt is this amazing woman, who loves me and accepts me for who I am, who welcomed Zenmaster and Miss H as full on niece and nephew from the minute I started dating their father. She laughs at me, she cries with me, she is the closest thing to a Mom I've ever had.

In the middle of the night, when you are torn up over yet another slapdown, another episode of me opening up again, giving her a chance, and having her pick someone else....

.....the pain is greater, because I shouldn't have to have someone else fill that role.


raino said...

i'm real sorry quin. sorry.

Solomon said...

Yikes. Your mom sounds like a right b*tch.

So, how did you manage to turn out as well as you did? It seems to me that that's quite a powerful thing to do - to not become one's parents. I mean, after they've spent 20+ years raising you, it's got to be hard to break the mould, and yet you've managed.

You are not her. You are a generous, fun woman who writes amazing stories and blog postings that I have to read twice because I'm think and don't understand most of the time because I'm thick.

I raise my glass of orange juice to you in a salute, Quin. Not many people would turn out was well as you did after that. :)

Peter Varvel said...

I applaud you because this is one of the most difficult kinds of writing you can do. Even when you want to be conscious of writing from a fair and unbiased perspective, it's virtually impossible.
You can't NOT take it personally simply because it IS personal.
I applaud you for your courage and willingness to be so honest and raw, both with yourself and with your readers.
I love you, Quin, always.

Susan's Snippets said...

Wow! Makes me very thankful for my constantly complaining, but loving mother.

I pray that you eventually put up borders and find the peace you so richly deserve.


Rebekah said...

What can I say that you've never heard? Not much... except that

The "way that families are supposed to be" with loving parents went out with cigarette commercials on TV. It just ain't like that anymore. I wish it weren't the case. At least you DO have Sortamom and, I'm sure, other surrogates who love you. I can't imagine the people who are so alone as to not have anyone. That's not to try to "to guilt" you or to remind you of your blessings. Just stating fact.

We can't make people into people they should be, in our eyes. I'm really trying to remove "Why didn't you..." "You should..." or "You shoulda done..." from my vocabulary because hearing them addressed to me just pisses me right the hell off. We can't make our parents into who we think they should be - look at my dad today [as opposed to twenty years ago - oh Quin, you would have loved my daddy]. Look at how many people try to change you and to change me. You and I know that we don't need changing; it's THEIR attitudes that need the change.

Ah well. Sometimes, when I look at something crappy, when I remember to, I sit back and wonder whether the crappiness adjusted my behavior briefly to lead to a small occurrence that would change my life. Like, maybe one shitty day, you went online earlier or later than usual and managed to make a new friend, and never noticed, nor will you ever notice, the connection. Occasionally, when I'm not Lysoling everything, Pollyanna kicks in. OCD or cheerful, I'm not sure which is worse.

You can still share my mommy. But not the sewing box she just gave me.

Love you

coastrat said...

Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your mother and your family. All I can say, Quin, is, I love you, my friend. {{{{{HUGS}}}}} and warm thoughts to you always.

austere said...


Cormac Brown said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom, I can relate a little too well.

"I raised my children with the motto WWMD? What would Mother do? And, I did the opposite."

Exactly, the best way to break the cycle of monstrosity.

Amber said...

I so very much wish that you had a loving, kind-hearted, compassionate mother.

After having read this, I am truly amazed that you turned out to be the kind, compassionate, caring, beautiful, amazing person that you are. And that you raised your kids to be the amazing human beings that they are.

You're a survivor in so many ways of that word. You do women everywhere proud, Miss Quin.

Thank you for being a part of my life and being the friend that I have come to cherish.

I hope 2009 brings you much (needed!) peace, love, joy, and blessings. You deserve them, sweetie!

Sorry I've been such an absentee commentor, lately. I am still here, reading your words and never failing to be blown away by what a talented writer you are. I'm afraid that my slacker-ness is only going to get worse when I start classes come Monday. But please know that I'm always available for you, if you need a friend, by email or phone. I assume you still have my number?

And did you ever get that email I dashed off to you the other day?

Anyway, take care of yourself and I look forward to seeing what awesome things 2009 brings your way!


Bill From Gainesville said...

QB --- you write beautifully and I damn sure appreciate it, and I know that was a tough post for you to let get out in to cyberspace because it is so damn personal. That takes Courage!

Bud said...

How painful. The exact relationships of all mentioned have puzzled me for some time but it doesn't actually matter. What you're feeling and why is crystal.

quin browne said...

nothing to add, really... thank you for the kind words, the affection, and, as always... for reading.

gel said...

Your pain is palpable. I know. I lived/live it. I wish you and others didn't. It's a "club" that shouldn't exist in our world. Sigh.

"the pain is greater, because I shouldn't have to have someone else fill that role." No, you shouldn't but I admit to envying you that you have someone who loves you that much. Moreso, I am happy that you do have your aunt and she, you.