A Lot of Lemonade

3.19.19 – A Lot of Lemonade

I’ve been sitting here for a while now with my thoughts, and I’ve not quite figured out how to say what I want…what I *need* to say. So, I’m thinking I’m just gonna say it, and if anyone reading knows my mom, so be it.

I feel as though I’ve never been enough for my mom, and certainly feel she’s never really been proud of me. She did not attend my sporting events. She did not help me with Senior Year expenses or go shopping with me to find my prom dress. I’m 42 years old, by the way, so there is plenty of missed opportunities. (Wait, 42..when did that happen? Different blog post.)

Anyway, my mother has never been overly affectionate with me, and she’s not one to give compliments, say any ‘atta girls, give praise, and she doesn’t seem to recognize when someone goes above and beyond in order to help her.

Now, I’m using the correct terminology by saying things like, “I feel…” but it’s not just me that notices this. I will say that this only exists in our relationship, not in her relationship with my son. That’s important to mention because she lives with us and has to be taken care of after her last back surgery, and she gets along with my son beautifully, constantly thanking him, heaping on the praise and love. She hugs him. She tells him she loves him. The two of them have had a close bond since he was born.

So, one thing led to another, and I sat down to have a conversation with my mom today. Now, I’ve touched on this before with her…several times actually, but I’ve never just put all the cards on the table and asked her to please do the same. I told her I feel like…no, that’s not an accurate description…I told her I *know* I’ve never been good enough, done well enough, and that I feel unloved. I asked her if she has *ever* been proud of me. Again, 42 years worth of material there.

She stared at me and chewed her food – the dinner I had just cooked even though I’m disabled just like her. She said that there are things she’s proud of but couldn’t think of any at the time. Guessing she could make what she thought was a valid point, she asked if I could list things that I loved about my son, things that made me proud. I spoke for at least 10 minutes about him until I realized we had gotten off course.

Now listen to me. Don’t throw at me that she was taken off guard, blah, blah. As I said, some things led to this conversation, and she could tell it was coming today, and also recall that I explained we’ve had similar discussions in the past.

Look, even my son sees how she treats him better than me. Treats my husband better than me. Treats the caretaker who helps us get her showered better than me. She actually talks and laughs with this lady for half an hour or so, which is a big deal for Mom. The caretaker that we’ve known three months. She’s here maybe an hour, twice a week.

I’ll share something terrible with you. Sometimes, in what I guess is a dark corner of my heart, I think to myself that Dad died when I was 15, and he and I did everything together. He would often praise me and was affectionate. Even though they divorced when I was two years old and only seeing Dad every other weekend and six weeks in summer, my relationship with Dad was filled with such love, joy, comfort and a sense of well-being. Mom is not affectionate. She doesn’t even say good night, just disappears. Well, let me amend that. She says good night to my son.

Anyway, sometimes I wonder if I had to lose a parent, ‘why my dad who loved me?’ I feel terrible even thinking it. I told you it was bad.

It’s not me wishing my mom passed away instead of my dad. It’s me missing Dad, and it’s me wishing Mom could be proud of me. It’s really a little girl wanting her momma’s love, I guess.

What the heck does any of this have to do with Bipolar? Mostly, that I want to share that though it hurts, I put the pain to good use. I am certain to shower my son in even more love. I am sure to constantly tell him he’s done a good job, and we always joke and laugh with one another. We hug good night and pray for each other. He too has Bipolar and we help lift the other when we’re down low.

Plus, it’s my blog. I can write what I want…LOL! No, seriously, sometimes it’s good for us, healthy even, to vent.

So, am I squeezing lemons into lemonade, here? Am I endeavoring to be a better mom because I feel I don’t have a mother that communicates with me? A mom that doesn’t love me? Yes, perhaps I am doing just that.

lemon lemonade

And you know what, I like lemonade. A lot.

 

(Image credit: cartoondealer)

6 thoughts on “A Lot of Lemonade

  1. Jen,
    My fingers are feeling ok for now so I thought I’d try my comment…

    I come from a line of women who seem to treat their daughters with less spoken words of love and appreciation. My grandma and my mom were bipolar, I never knew my great grandma, however my dad did not think highly of her. My dad was always the more demonstrative/loving parent.

    I can’t know really what the dynamic between you and your mom feels like, however I can understand your hurt and frustration at her lack of love and appreciation of all you do for her. Vent away my friend! We are here for you! Glad you enjoy lemonade🍋🍋🍋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Jenn (Is that right?),
    I can smell what you’re cooking, know what I’m sayin?
    I don’t know if there are statistics that show how much emotional support people get from their parents and other “important” people in their lives. I just know my own experience over the years (I’m 57) has made me numb.
    My mother would tell me she loves me, she still does and it’s probably true, but so what? If she does, it’s in the same way a person loves their little yappy dog. She thinks I’m funny because of stupid things I did when I was a kid, but doesn’t understand that when she shares these amusing anecdotes she is actually holding me up to ridicule. She felt sympathy when I was broken and sad, but never respect when I showed courage or strength, when I rose up and endured. Eventually her “love” lost its value. I didn’t cause that.
    I know, believe me. You want to be loved, like we all do, and you live the life, as much as you can, of someone who deserves it. But there are times, here comes the metaphor, when the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.
    Nobody but you can say when that point may be, but I can say this: Don’t ever feel bad about taking care of yourself.
    It’s almost spring and I’ve been hypomanic since early last month, so I don’t know what the next few months will bring. My emotions are running really close to the surface and I’m going to be visiting my sister, who lives right next door to my mother, so this might be interesting. Wish me well, as I do you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellently voiced. It struck home, because I wasn’t a good mom. Oh I wasn’t the mom who ignored her daughter or was critical , I was an absent mom. I ran away when she was 2 1/2 . We later reunited when she was 13, and our relationship has healed …somewhat.
    But I am suffering the consequences of being an absent mom.
    I tell her I’m sorry I wasn’t there to make your holidays happy.
    I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you from your step-mothers abuse.
    Jen, just be there for your son, that’s what counts

    Liked by 2 people

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