I haven't written much about my mother here before. Maybe once or twice in passing. During the five years that I Iived in Boston I probably came home once or twice a year at most, and so the topic never really came up in blog land. Now that I have been living at home for the last few weeks, it makes sense that my proximity to my family would lend itself to blog fodder. But now I have to address the comments inspired by the two entries I posted about my mother, comments which included the phrases "spoilt brat" (sic) and "I would have smacked you upside the head," and even a caring but gently disapproving e-mail along the same vein from a good friend.
First of all, I will never tell my mother about this blog, and not just because the very existence of pre-marital sex offends her on a visceral level. Ever since the beginning of this blog I knew I would never tell my mother about it, because this blog is my outlet. For two years I never wrote about my mother on this blog, but I knew one day I would want to do so. No, I knew that one day I would need to do so. Today probably isn't that day, but let's think of it as a preamble.
Like many people, I guess, I have a long and complicated history with my mother. Over the years, the daily traumas of childhood faded with the relief of impending adulthood and the miles of distance between us. I found that, unsurprisingly, I got along with my mother much better when I didn't have to live with her. But eighteen years of physical and emotional trauma (I hesitate to call it abuse, which invokes something much more dramatic, when really it was more of a low-level, underlying constant) can't help but leave scars. As I said, our relationship has calmed since the turbulent days of my youth, and it has grown into something else entirely. And as I've grown older I recognize that, ironically enough, my mother's relationship with me almost exactly mirrors her relationship with her own mother: one of duty, obligation, and absolutely no joy. It is what it is, and I am mostly ok with that. We all do the best we can.
I did try to write about my mother once on this blog. I finished it, read it over once, labeled it "unpostable" and left it to languish in my drafts folder. It was just too sad. So if I attempt to use humor, as in the two recent entries, to address a topic that could otherwise be quite painful, please understand that this is my therapy. Please also understand that, as much as I love all of you who read, this blog is just as much for me as it is for you. You are not obligated to like everything I write. Just as I should not be obligated to defend how I feel about everyone in my life or what I say to or about them. You do not always have the full story. Thus is the nature of blogs. And to everyone who is so quick to judge, please know that I envy the relationships you have with your mothers. I have always looked on curiously and a bit wistfully at those people who can say, completely straight-faced, "My mother is my best friend," and mean it. I will never have that. And I may not always be right, and I may not always be good, and I am obviously more than a bit flawed, and I know this, believe me. But for everyone who said, or even just thought, that I should be a bit kinder to my parents, I ask you to please, be a bit kind with me. We're all doing the best we can.