I’m sitting here watching Moana with my little dude. I never thought I would have a child, but here I am watching a kids movie with him while he picks around pancakes I made for him this morning. I laid next to him and just stared at his little cheeks as he watched the movie. I sat and wondered if my mom ever did this. Was my mom ever amazed at the fact she gave life to someone?
My relationship with my parents has always been a complex one. Its a shame that we don’t fully appreciate some things when we are kids. With recent events, I have stopped to think about what each of my parents did for me when I was a kid. Sadly, my dad passed away a couple of years ago. I wasn’t immediately sad when it happened. However, this morning brought it all back to me. I have a large picture of my dad above the bookcase in the living room. I looked at my son and smiled. Then I looked up at the picture of my dad and instantly wanted to cry. He passed away a month after I told him I was pregnant. He was so happy even though I could see how much effort it took for him to try and smile at that point in his illness. It still chokes me up when I think too hard about it. I wondered how he would make my son laugh or what he would say. I know my son would have loved him and would have wanted to play with my dad. I try hard to hold it all back and push the tears away.
Sometimes though, I just can’t stop myself. I really miss my dad. I thought really hard about the things we did as children and how my dad was the one that advocated we have a good time. When my mom was deep into her gambling at the casinos, my dad would play the games with us and win prizes. My dad was the one that insisted on taking us fishing even if I didn’t want to do it. He took us to San Francisco to walk around the aquarium. He tried really really hard with the little amount of money we had to give us experiences we wouldn’t forget. I remember when we finally had more money he was so excited to be able to buy us nice Christmas presents. I was a sophomore in high school and it was the first time I got a really big Christmas present from my parents. However, I knew the laptop was from my dad…. I remember going with him to Best Buy because he wanted to buy my brother a really nice camera. He was so excited to be able to afford to buy him something like that. It makes me appreciate him more now and I wish I had appreciated it more then. For all the flaws he had as a person, he really tried hard to be a good dad.
Relationships are complex. Mother daughter relationships are even more so. While my dad was hands on, my mom wasn’t always the same unless she wanted something in return. I tried hard the last few years to try and make our relationship better. However, after therapy, I don’t feel as awful in giving up. My therapist had said something that still resonates and puts a lump in my throat. He asked me– “Do you think that if your mom was more hands on or more approachable, those traumas could have been avoided? Do you think that she would have protected you? Would those instances of your lost innocence been prevented if she was present”? Those questions hit really hard… I am who I am because of several traumas growing up. Several that not even my closest relatives know about. They asked me those ACE questions and I got 5 out of 10. Statistically that means i’ll probably die sooner than others. Its honestly a wonder i’ve never done drugs in my life… At least 2 of those ‘yes’ answers were because of my mother. Another of those ‘yes’ answers was a result of her child from another father. I wish I could turn it all off and forget. But the reason I just can’t forgive my mother is because she failed to protect me. She is a narcissist and I need to remember that. I need to remember that I tried to tell her when something bad was happening to her granddaughter and she told me, “that’s none of our business”. How could I have told her what happened to me when she didn’t even care if it happened to her other daughter’s daughter? I wrote out pages of things she did in order to not feel bad about ignoring phone calls or texts… I feel terrible at times, but I would feel worse trying to have a relationship that just isn’t there. It is an awful feeling to sense that your mother never wanted to be one. I hope my own son never feels that about me.
I try and give my little guy the experiences that will make him happy. Yes, I want him to love me and come to me when he’s having bad days. But mostly, I just want to make him smile. I love hearing his little giggle and seeing his little personality coming out more and more. I love cooking for him and playing outside with him. It is the most comforting feeling when we play and he runs back to me and says ‘more!’
I can’t wait for him to get older. I have no idea how to be a mom. I have no idea if I’m doing it right. Some days I feel like I’m failing. Some days I’m completely overwhelmed with school and work. But I still come home after work and make him dinner. I still prep his breakfast and snacks in the morning. I still drop him off at daycare and give him a kiss goodbye. Being a working mom is hard, but I still feel more present for him than my mom was for me. I hope that at least means something…