Tuesday, March 13

SPC - hiding, feeling grumpy

Mothers and daughters, what is it with this relationship that is so difficult, so fraught with tension? My father had surgery last Wednesday and what was expected to be a simple procedure turned complicated and he was very unwell. I decided I needed to be here in Sweden, both for him and my mother, and for myself. So I jumped on the next flight filled with romantic visions of my mother and I sitting at the kitchen table, really talking, drinking wine, becoming closer, while my father grew stronger and stronger in the hospital.

Of course it's far more complicated than that. Without my dad here everything is somehow off balance. Despite her incredible experiences during the war; being forced to salute Hitler as he rode through the town, hiding in haystacks from the raping invading Russians, fleeing under dangerous conditions from east to west Germany, she has grown very conservative, very narrow-minded as she's aged. And as I listen to her talk I feel bile rising, smoke coming out of my ears, blood threatening to burst my arteries.

And sometimes I have to hide. Hide from her, but also from the guilt of wanting to hide. I come and sit quietly in this room; I try to breathe deep into my belly, I try to accept and love her, unconditionally.

And when she goes to bed at night and I hear her sing softly to herself I'm flooded with feelings of tenderness, and I'm able to let it all go. And tomorrow I know I will try again, I'll try harder to be accepting and understanding.

This photo has been manipulated using Typorganism. So far it's my favourite tool.


luzie said...

I can relate so much to the ambivalence you feel about your mother.. and I think your manipulated picture matches the post very well. (Seems like a great tool, I will have to give it a try soon!)

Gypsy Purple said...

Oh what a great post.....my whole struggle this past week is also with one of my daughters!!!
Yes, it`s always a very tender situation....I often feel the same with my MOm....it is as if because I am a woman, I expect her to be as strong as I know a woman can be and have more patience with my Dad....I tend to forget that she is growing old and need me in a different way now....

Judith in Umbria said...

I hope all you girls can learn to be tolerant of your mothers' differences. We are the product of what our lives held. The restrictions, the lies, the traps of our youth have molded the women we are. Some of us hit the streets to make things better for women, but what we were constrained to accept as youths is still there, like the magma under a silent volcano that only puffs out a bit of smoke once in a while.
But do recall that we reared you to be freer and to be who you became. Unless you grew up without a mother, a mother, who seems too this or too that, wanted you to be free of it.
When mum doesn't fulfill your daydream of how you will handle danger to dad, remember that the situation is much more central to her than to you. Yes, you love dad, but you have moved on to life and another man, and her life will turn over and maybe in some ways even end if he goes. It's not what you need in this case, but what she needs, and may be incapable of expressing.
another mother

sognatrice said...

Your vow to take it one day at a time is so very important in such a complicated situation. I continue to think of you and your family during this time.

acumamakiki said...

I had such a difficult relationship with my mother and she passed away so there is no hope of reconciliation although I'm not sure it would have happened anyway.
Now that I'm the mother to a young daughter, my biggest hope is that we have a close relationship like we do now, throughout our lives and my biggest fear is that we won't.
I love this post for the reminder and also, your photo is perfect for the words you've expressed here.

I hope your father continues to recover from his surgery.

Sharon said...

You write what so many feel. I hope you stay positive and that you are able to give some of your good and caring side to your parents. This isn't pretty but...my mother was a tyrant. Very mean spirited and bitter. We all (siblings) struggled to win her favor to no avail...until that last day. Then when I saw my mother in death I saw ...just a person. Why had I been so tormented? I think she had fears.

Loralee Choate said...

I have a more difficult relationship with my father, but I don't know that sex even matters that much: The parent/child relationship can often be difficult.

Thanks for coming by my blog, I am always happy to find reads that move me and this one makes quite an impact.

I hope your father gets better soon.

Vedrana M. said...

beautiful post, portrait also :)
i hope your father will be better,xxx

KatieBelle said...

Very illuminating post and photo. Hope things continue to get better.

Tammy said...

Mother & daughter relationships are so tough. I'm glad you are there for them. You captured your frustrations well here. Good luck!

Joy said...

I remind myself daily that my mother is a product of her choices and how grateful I am that my generation is more aware of life's issues (especially as women) and how to handle hard situations...

Will be thinking of you and your family today - praying for healing for your dad!

Jay said...

Sorry to hear about your father - I'll be thinking of him.

You are so right about this relationship though. It's complicated. Because we are so close the gaps feel all the wider. It seems impossible that we should feel so unfamiliar around the person who gave birth to us, but I know the feeling well.

KG said...

From reading your post and everyone's comments, I've gained a lot of insight I think I really needed. Thank you for writing your feelings down about it.

What I'll take from all this:
- try anew every day
- let more things go
- accept that my mom is a product of another time
- accept that she is getting older and that I need to be more patient with her because of this

Thanks, Waspgoddess and everyone!

Caro said...

I have mother issues too.

Sometimes she makes me so mad with her views and the fact that she seems to have no respect for me as a parent.

Then sometimes she does something very loving.

I can't think of a more difficult relationship in my life except for the one I have with my own daughter.

hollibobolli said...

I can't even get started on this topic without taking over in here, except to say I understand completely.

When Faith was born she cried for me then pushed me away.. one of my friends jokingly said "and thus begins the complex mother/daughter relationship."

I hope I will learn from my own childhood.

Hang in there and try to keep peace for your father's sake right now.

Hugs and positive thoughts coming your way.


Vanessa said...

I have a tough time relating to my mother too. I think the mother-daughter thing is always complicated, at best. I have three little boys and, I swear, each time I was pregnant I was: a) sure that I was carrying boys and, b) terrified I might have a girl as I wouldn't know where to begin to relate (I have no sisters either). My mother is a social worker and is very liberal with all of her colleagues and cases, which is a good thing, believe me. Why then is she so conservative in her expectations from me? I'll never get it.
Hope you are getting to spend some time with your dad and that he's on the mend.
Love from Dublin, thinking of you.

Nicole said...

relationships with family members are always difficult, even when they're good.

your post is tender and you are in my thoughts.

BlueJude said...

Mothers and daughters have always been a complicated relationship from the beginning of time. Heck, family realtionships are complicated and sometimes fall short of our ideal. And I have a daughter so I know about this one.
Anyhoo...you have been tagged by yours truly. I know you're going thru a tough time now, but thought this would give you a minute to have fun?, and take your mind off things. Best wishes to you !!

La Cubana Gringa said...

Ahhh yes. I can TOTALLY relate! Just before the Christmas holiday when my family flooded my house for a week, one of my roommates (who is aware of the angst my mom causes me) gave me a pack of "Enjoy spending time with your mother" gum. On the package of said gum reads the following:

"Instantly Enhanced quality time! Just one piece of gum makes visiting your mother the source of comfort it should be. Never feel uptight again! And never feel the urge to talk about your true self! (Now made with Time Accelerating Enzymes. Makes a five hour visit fly by like a five second stopover. Complete satisfaction guaranteed!)"

Shall I send you a pack??


daisies said...

first of all, sending you warm thoughts for your father, hope he is getting stronger ... hugs!

i always had a difficult relationship with my mother and we would both often hide from each other i think ... though in recent years we have found a balance of acceptance ~ she accepts the things about me that annoys her and i accept the things about her that annoy me, we choose that acceptance and enjoy each other so much more. sometimes we have to hide from those we love so we can love them all the better and guilt should fly gently out the window :)

i love your photo ... brilliant with this post! xox

Magda said...

Oh, I know what you are talking about! I can understand way too well, the need to hide, and the guilt which comes with that need... What makes it so difficult for me, is that my Mom and me, we can hurt each other (both intentionally or unintentionally) more than anybody else could. And it always seems to be a double-sided spear.

serrin said...

My 80 year old gradnmother and I are similar in many ways, one of which is the strength we hold in our convictions.

My grandmother is racist. My first love was a Kenyan-Indian Hindu and my grandmother commented that "he seems like a nice boy but I'm not pleased that he is coloured". This infuriated me, but I try to remember that when I am 80, if my grandchild tries to change my convictions *against* recism and attempts to convince me that black people really are "evil", I will oppose his/her views with just as much conviction and indignation as my grandmother opposes mine.

She has a saying that "When you grow old, your narrow waist changes places with your broad mind". So I try to be tolerant of her, otherwise my own ideas of tolerating other people become mere hypocrisy.

That said, I still try to point out the errors I see in her views, and if she lived in another city and I were to visit her, I would stay in a hotel. Ha!

serrin said...

ps - After reading all the other comments I've decided to post about my relationship with my mother, but in a different light to everybody else here.

I have a great relationship with my mother, but I think it's because we are friends primarily and the mother/daughter aspect of our relationship is almost an afterthought. Some things that I think helped cement such a rewarding relationship between us are:

- An early memory I have of crying about having no friends at school (I was bullied), my mother said "I'll always be your friend".

- I learned from an early age that she is almost always right.

- I can accept that her opinions are the product of a different environment, and I don't expect her to share my opinions, only to listen to them.

- We often go out for coffee or a drink and share stories, I ask her for advice and she shares her history with me to illustrate her thoughts.

- I have a great relationship with my grandmother (who I am SO going to turn into whether I like it or not) and she has filled in a lot of the gaps in my mother's story that mum hasn't told me herself.

In many ways, I know each of them through the stories they have both shared with me, and sometimes they have even learned about each other through things I have told them.

I don't know if these things are the products of luck, or something else. It seems flippant to suggest that they might give an insight to some people who struggle in their own relationships, but if there's anything of use in there for you, then good. :)