It is messy and convoluted. But the fact remains, I brought this all upon myself. I should have known better to begin with and I most certainly should have known better than to try again. Am I stubborn or just plain stupid? And will I ever, ever learn to accept and just be happy? Happy that I got out. Happy that I have grown up and have become a better person.
I have alluded to the estrangement with my mother, and I have mentioned parts of my crappy ass childhood, but I don’t think I’ve ever said what’s been going on with her over the last couple of years.
Two years ago this April I told my mother that I didn’t want her in my life anymore. There were a lot of factors that led me to make this decision, but the final straw was that she missed BB’s sixth birthday. No call, no card. Nothing. When I mentioned it to her she blew it off and said something along the lines of “Well, I’ve been busy”. Too busy to notice the birthday of her only grandchild. Okay, great. Busy doing what? “Oh, you know, work.” Ah. You mean working as a part-time cashier at Lowes? Damn, talk about your high pressure! Of course I knew that it wasn’t work. It was her, being her usual drug-addled, self absorbed, self-centered self. When I asked her if she even knew when his birthday was, she couldn’t even name the month. Again, not a real shocker, but still upsetting. It was at about this point that I told her that I needed her to recognize my and BB’s birthdays every year, and that I was so upset about her forgetting because she frequently forgot my birthday when I was a kid and I didn’t want her doing that to my child. I guess my mother got upset and hung up. A few minutes later her boyfriend called me back and he started calling me all sorts of what I can only assume he thought of as creative names. “Stupid little bitch” and the like. Don’t do drugs, kids. It diminishes your creative skills. In the end, Hubby took the phone from me and told them not to call us again.
A year ago this month I wrote my mother a letter that outlined what I needed from her if she wants to be in my life. Things that I think are important: Be clean, be sober, recognize birthdays with at least a phone call, and be willing to talk about the way I grew up, so I could make sense of it. I told her that in spite of it all, I love her and want a mother in my life, and that I look forward to hearing from her. I don’t think I asked anything unreasonable, and I made it clear that I don’t have the right, nor was I trying, to make her change her life. The way she chooses to live is completely up to her, but it is up to me to decide under what conditions I will allow someone in my life. And, more importantly, in my son’s life. I never got a letter in response.
Another birthday for BB passed without notice from his grandmother. I figured she had made her choice and that, once again, I lost out. I was getting to be okay with that when she ambushed me on my birthday six months after BB’s birthday. We went to visit family- her parents and brother- and she sent a gift for me and a bunch of things for BB. My grandmother told me to call her, to say thank you, but after some soul searching I chose not to. After all, I laid out my needs, and she didn’t follow through with any of them. It felt like a power play designed to make her look good in front of her parents while making me look like an ungrateful child. That kind of drama isn’t wanted in my life. Two months later, for Christmas, she sent BB a box of gifts. There was no note or letter to me. Nothing that said she had been attending AA meetings or even that she’d been drug free for a week. Thankfully UPS dropped them off after he was in bed, so he never even knew they came. Again I chose not to acknowledge the gifts. I don’t want BB getting gifts from a drug addict grandmother who may or may not remember how old he is.
About a week ago I sent another letter. This one was much shorter and much less passionate than the original letter. I again outlined my needs if she wants to be in my or my son’s life. I also told her that any gifts she sends will not be accepted, so don’t send anything again. Well, except for one letter. I told her I wanted her to write me a letter in response to mine, so that I can know she understands my needs. I told her again that it is up to her, that I don’t have the right to make her change (be drug free and sober, etc.) but that I have the right to place boundaries. She would have gotten it in the last couple of days.
Today I got a strange phone call from a private number. It was a guy with a southern accent saying that he was with the “home shopping sweepstakes” and he was “calling to inform you you’ve won the du-du-dumbass of the year award!” Fucking lovely. I’ve been hoping my mother would clean up her act even if I knew she wouldn’t . Damn hope. Since the original letter a year ago, I have hoped. Since I sent the second letter, I have hoped. Hoped that she would realize that she is losing her only daughter. Hoped that she’d realize she’s losing her only grandchild. Hoped that for once, once, she’d choose me over the drugs. Choose me over the liquor and men. I hoped that she’d choose to be the mother I deserve and the grandmother BB never knew.
I am done hoping now. Now is not the time to feel sorry for myself or to hope for something she is unwilling and incapable of giving. Now is the time for healing; it is the time for letting go and moving forward. My dad died six years ago in January, but I have been an orphan since then. It is time for me to accept that.