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Friday, July 06, 2007

Our Stories

Something Kimba posted the other day got me thinking. It's her 'Story of Me', and it made me reflect on my own story of me. And then the stories of my siblings. I think that from this current reflection, I have reached a greater understanding of why my mother treats her children so differently.

I know all our stories because they have often been spoken of within my family. My brother is her firstborn, the much-wanted son. Shortly afterwards, she became pregnant again and lost the child. I was an unexpected pregnancy after that miscarriage.

First daughter, the apple of my father's eye, but apparently a difficult baby. I was left with my mother and brother for months and months on end, as my father was at sea. My entire family unit was the two of them during my formative years.

When I was five, my sister arrived. An unplanned child, the result of poor contraceptive management and a surprise visit from my dad. The family used to joke that at the time, my dad was going to adopt an orphan monkey in Cambodia but those plans fell through when my mum became pregnant as they couldn't afford both. Often we would laugh about how we wished we had the monkey. Only now can I see what effect hearing that, must have had on my sister growing up.

My relationship with my brother was destroyed at a very early age. But he did adore my sister. In a healthy way, gladly. My dad was at sea until I was about 10, so I really can't hold him responsible for not saving me from the problems I encountered in my childhood. My mum seemed to so favour our brother, he got everything he wanted, he could do no wrong. In her eyes that is still the case. A part of me will always wonder if she knew, but refused to accept that he would do such things.

My sister and I didn't have much of a relationship, my brother was too busy making sure I was miserable, to let me have her as a friend. It's really only in our adulthood that she and I have grown together, perhaps from a shared feeling of not being loved by our mother and watching her give all her affection to our brother. That and my strong nurturing feelings towards my 'baby' sister.

I know, and accept, that my parents did the best they could with their resources and personal experiences. But then if that's the case, how can she pick only one of us to love and cherish. That shows what she is capable of, but is unwilling to spread around.

And I can't help but feel, that maybe it's because he was the only one she truly and absolutely wanted. Whereas my sister and I were 'accidents'. It would certainly explain a lot. She has left such an imprint on her daughters' souls and both my sister and I struggle in our relationships with her. I realise that I talk often about my mother here, as though I'm trying to explain something to myself. Perhaps I am. But perhaps I just need to stop harping on about it all.

Kimba has grown and accepted her mother for all her faults, for what she has given her and especially for what she has not. I admire her so much for that. But I don't know if I'll ever get to that place. I love my mother, as the person who gave birth to me. She'll always be my mother.

But I don't particularly like the person she is.


Princess of the Universe said...

It's so hard to accept the decisios that our parents make without knowing what is going on in their heads.

I have recently come to a place of forgiveness for some of my unhappy childhood memories involving my own mother.

Just because we try to accept them for who they are, doesn't have to mean that we have to agree with or support the decisions they make.

You have turned out to be so remarkably well-adjusted aned beautiful despite all of your hardships, I can't tell you enough how much I admier you for it.

Jac said...

Notice the Bible doesn't tell us to love our parents, just to honor them. That childhood wound of your soul is what brought you to where you are today. Lots of it was terrible, reliving the people you love running hot and cold on you. But lots of it has also brought you to healing that you've achieved. NOW you know how you deserve to be treated and loved!
Hugs from your blog family-by-choice.

sophie n said...

i heard someone say once, "i blame you for nothing...i forgive you for everything"

i hope you come to feel this way one day...

kimba said...

Fi - thanks for writing this.
I don't have anything specific that I could identify as a problem with my mother. Just a mild disrespect for each other.

There are many layers to each relationship we have. I guess on the fundamental layer of being your protector - she failed you. I am sorry for that my love. As POTU says, you are despite all else a wonderful person full of love, and greatly loved.

D said...

Your blogs about your mother have always left me with the feeling that she is jealous of you and to a lesser extent your sister. I am always amazed just how much love you can show back to her when she witholds so much from you. I know that you will exhibit wonderful mothering qualities once your given the chance and those receiving them will be far better for it.

Sunny Delight said...

I have examined the dynamics of my childhood family life various times through out my life, each time coming up with slighty different answers to the reasons why things happened as they did.

You may well have a very good point as to your own mother's distance to you and your sister...

I think it is more than that though when I examine my own family...there is a strong influence from previous generations, history repeating itself...it plays into the mix. But, I very strongly believe it is within each of us to make the attempts to overcome the negatives we learned/experienced as children, and embrace the positive...Just as you have done.

There does come a point when we each choose whether to carry that baggage throughout our lives, or get rid of it.

And as Jac so wisely pointed out, we may honor, but there are times when the love just isn't there, or it hurts too much...and that is not our faults...You give honor to your mother, that speaks of who YOU are, not her mothering.

"children (do) learn what they live."

As adults we have the option of unlearning it.

Fusion said...

There's nothing more I can add here Fiona, except to echo the thoughts of everyone else, and you know how I feel about you, sitting on the mountain, heh heh

Thanks for our chat last night too :) I needed that.

George said...

I think most of us have some horrid stories to tell about our childhoods and our parents. Even is there was misfortune as a child ... all experiences, good and bad, have made you the thoughtful, caring and loving woman you are today Fiona.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she never did want her daughters. Who knows? I imagine your mother is elderly, as is mine. Women of that age had so many fewer choices than we did. Contraception didn't really exist, divorce was stigmatizing. They didn't talk about their problems, didn't "air their dirty laundry". It was a different world.

Your Mum is English and I think the old English system of raising children by shipping them off to boarding school caused damage to generations of children. Damage that left people unprepared to be parents.

Anyway, your mother may be unwilling to share her love. But who's loss is that? Your's, I know, but her's as well. She's missing out on knowing you which is sad.

There's not really anything you can do to change her. She won't, I doubt she has any desire to and it's getting pretty late in the game.

I guess you can decide how you want to live and love, how you want to treat the people you love and care about.

I'm rambling now. You take care.

Fiona said...

Princess - I suppose at some level I've forgiven, but I do still hold her responsible, moreso for what she does now, rather than then. Thank you for your kind words. I do wonder what it is that makes one person emulate and repeat mistakes, while another refuses to.

Jac - it's true, the only person I know loved me, was my dad. Everyone else up until a year ago, wanted me for something, not for me. And now, that has changed and I'm feeling love for the first time ever, for me, and my god it's incredible. And yes, I finally have come to terms with deserving it, I realise that was half the battle. Hugs to a very important member of my blog family :)

Sophie - I miss having a mother who cares about me and about my happiness, but as the saying goes, you can't miss what you've never had :)

Kimba - thank you for inspiring this post and as you can see it has inspired yet more :) It was really hard to get beyond that level of betrayal, I kept expecting it from everyone else, probably didn't give myself a real chance until now because of it. Thank you for such wonderful words about me. It has taken me a long time but I can say now, I'm nae bad after all ;)

D - I do hope that one day I get to 'mother' a youngster or two, even if it's as a step-parent. I think that would be awesome. I do care about the well-being of my mother and I do worry about her. She's put me in charge of some heavy, heavy stuff with regard to her future and I have that to contend with.

Sunny - I agree, Sunny, about the choices. I have made some, my sister has made others. I have chosen to build on my weaknesses, my failings. My sister has chosen to be constantly devoured by hers. I think the difference too, is that I hold some others responsible, which she blames. There is a big difference. And yes, honey, we DO unlearn things and by doing that, stop them dead in their tracks. Hugs :)

Fusion - uh huh I'm the old one on top of the mountain hahahahhahaha. You're welcome re the chat, I can't always help you come to a decision, but I can always try to share my thoughts :)

George - thank you :) Yes, I am the sum total of my experiences good and bad and I've learned from them all. They have, each of them, helped me in my evolution :)

Deb - I love rambling...more often that not it can lead to yet another post. Thoughts get entangled, multiply, evolve...I love that. My mum is 74 and until her health problems, was a young 74. She's of Scottish stock (middle class to my dad's working class) and I grew up in an unconventional (at the time) family. She was a firebrand, she actually followed my dad out to Hong Kong and they were married here - no wallflower that woman! She then raised three children while my dad was at sea and we weren't the usual 'expatriate' family here, we were poor. That's where my mother had incredible strength but something went wrong somewhere along the road, by the time I was a teenager, she was all but a recluse, depending on me to be the one to accompany her when she went out, and that was only for shopping or a lunch. I was her 'companion' until I left home. Maybe she didn't forgive me for that, I was the last to leave. Maybe there is some jealousy, as D said. Perhaps she wanted so much more for her life.


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