Sunday, May 8, 2011

Relationship Status: It's Complicated

My mother, as a delicate young woman
Anyone who knows me knows that my relationship with my mother is ... complicated.

About 15 years ago we had a falling out, an estrangement. It was my decision to cut off contact, and I think I broke her heart. Maybe that's what I wanted then - to punish her. But, as with any dysfunctional relationship, the hurting went both ways.

Several years after my father's death, my mother married a man who had molested a pre-teen girl. My mother knew this before she married him. She accepted his remorse and believed she could be vigilant enough to protect her 11 grandchildren.

I knew otherwise: when I was a pre-teen my mother's father, my grandfather, molested me. She knew about this.

Feeling twice betrayed, I slammed the door shut. I was not going to let her hurt me again, and I sure as hell was not going to let her choice put my children in harm's way. [Yes, there is still a little residual anger there.]

So, as you might imagine, Mother's Day is a little complicated for me.

I want to say that I love my mother, despite everything. But that isn't true. I feel sorry for her, I forgive her, I wish things were different for her - and for me, and for my children. I feel the loss of that primal bond. But I don't trust her, and that gets in the way of everything else.

What is true is that there are several women in my life who have demonstrated - to me and to my children - that love is not [just] a sentiment or a feeling, but an act: it is something we DO. My Aunt Winkie, my Aunt Vera, my sister Pat, my mother-in-law Jean, my sister-in-law Barb.

And, of course, as a mother myself, I have tried to be a parent with integrity, knowing that the love my own children feel for me is not something I should take for granted, especially once they've hit their teens and start making choices about such things.


  1. Wow, Wynne Anne... I can't believe how strong and open you are. To have gone through what you have and still be grounded and caring -- it's amazing. You are an incredible mom and role model. You should be so proud.

  2. Thanks, Steph. Some days I'd rather NOT be strong! But the bottom line is I do like my life, and feel surrounded by love - and that makes all the difference.

  3. You are an inspiration. I pray that no harm comes to the children this monster starts lurking around. Ignorance is not bliss :-/


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