Sunday, October 19, 2008

Careless Words

Sometimes I start obsessing or thing about things from the past. You know...things you can't change or get out of your head. You forget then some reason the little niggly thought is there again. Careless words, careless thoughts, carelessness with a loved ones heart. Maybe carelessness is why I felt like my mother didn't really love me...I was just a burden, another brat...and a female one at that. Female brats are evil and untrustworthy. A mother must always be smarter, thinner, younger and sexier at all times, especially once that girl-child begins to grow female appearing breasts!

I have passed the 50 mark, the 40 mark, but the 30 mark was intimidating. Why??? My mother feared and hated 30. I can remember it like yesterday, I was 10. I don't know exactly what my mom said to make me think that 30 was so OLD, after all grandma was around 55 and was much older. Never-the-less, I thought my mother was gonna curl up and die...because she was OLD. Then, it occurred to my 10-year-old mind that not only was my mother gonna die before midnight because she was 30 and OLD, but that it was unthinkable that I would not give her a birthday present. We lived 13 miles out of town on a red-dirt road and 7 miles from the nearest store. I only had about 3 pennies, some rocks and some scraps of fabric in my Prince Albert can (yes RedDirt reminded me of the prized Prince Albert cans!). I finally figured out something I could make for my mom. I careful used my 10-year-0ld hand to measure and borrowed grandma's "fabric" sissors to cut out my precious fabric. I carefully fashioned a loop on one corner, pot-holders! Well, not actually thick enough to pick up a pot, but remember I was 10....and didn't realize they were actually used for anything other than to hang on the wall in the kitchen. I carefully wrapped them in comic papers and tied a piece of my hoarded ribbon around the package. I was so pleased with myself. My mother would not go to her grave without a birthday present.

Mom came home from work, she was the "News Girl" on the local radio station...a job she hated...and she was tired. I remember she was resting on the divan after supper, shoes off and feet curled under her a piece of chocolate birthday cake in her hand when I presented her the package. I should have know she was pissed off from the way she sneered her lip at the package...but I was trying so hard to make her happy. Mom pulled off the comic paper and looked at the scrimpy little pieces of fabric. "What the hell is this?" she asked. "Pot-holders" I stammered. "Take this shit and get the hell out of here." Word for Word and I never forgot cursing because when somebody cussed that was a no-no in grandma's house, and there was sure to be heck to be paid! I remember flushing hot with embarrassment and running out of the room with tears filling my eyes. I could hear my grandmother admonish my mother with her full name, but didn't stay to listen to what was said. I went outside and climbed up in the chinaberry tree and satup there for hours, until it was dark and the mosquitoes were biting. I rememberthinking that I never wanted to ever be 30 if it made you be mean, ugly and OLD like that. The next day I threw my prized Prince Albert can, my scraps of fabric and all my treasures into the trash pile.

Mom never spoke to me ever about this childhood incident. One time I told her she had chicken legs when I was grown (30....grown ... not OLD) and to this day she will tell me every chance she gets to bring it up about how much I hurt her by making fun of her legs (which by the way....are still skinny), and I have said I'm sorry more times than can be counted, but she has never ever realized how much I remember the day she turned 30. I think to this day that scorned birthday present was a turning point in our relationship. A point where I knew that nothing I did would ever be good enough, but I never quit trying.

What age has brought to this experience is that I forgive her for being unkind to a child because I understand now that she was hurting. She and Daddy had just divorced, she had moved us back to Oklahoma from California. She was living with her parents in their house under their rules. She could only date if she was home by midnight. She was frustrated and horribly sad.

My mother undoubtably did many unkind things, but other times she did things that I didn't the time she gave me $50 out of the blue, I was 24, two weeks post-op from a hysterectomy and had a sick 15 month old baby and no money for medicine. I didn't ask, she just gave it to me with a hug. Then there was the time she called me and I was crying because my husband (#2) had gotten drunk, slapped me silly and called me all kinds of rotten names (curse words that don't bear repeating!) . She drove 4 hours in the middle of the night to give him a piece of her mind...after she pulled his drunken half-frozen ass out of the ditch he had passed out and rolled into. Me, I was waiting for him to freeze or drown and I wasn't helping him out of any ditches, I was actually praying to find him dead in the morning and pretending to be clueless. Come to think of it, maybe she didn't really do me a favor that time. Regardless, I appreciated her being a Lioness taking up for her cub.

So yes, careless words can be a double edged sword that can cut all the way to the heart. I make it a point to stop and think when I am I really want to loosen that sword??? Or is it better to walk away and fight another day? Me I choose to walk away, at least until I'm over my mad. I let all the poison cool, I go and write a blog and delete it. Then, I make up with who ever I was mad at, chances are it's all a misunderstanding because of careless words anyway.


Sue said...

Thanks for coming by, and I'm glad that I happened upon your blog right now. My daughter is 10, I am 28. This post hit home because her and I have had scuffles and I have been, at times, unkind with my words. A few weeks ago I asked my life coach for help and his advice has brought us closer than ever.

The issues your mom had, I hope you realize, were never your fault or because of your behaviors or quirks. They were all HER problems. I wish I had more time to explain, but comment boxes are deftly unsuited for this kind of chatter.


Sue said...

BTW, my emails is on my profile if you'd like to chat!

Debbie Y. said...

My mother was the one who always took care of everyone in our family. She was the matriarch of the family and was the caregiver. She worked full-time and had it hard because my dad just didn't have it in him to work and be familial as well. My Mother had always had a full load as my grandmother (her mother) was paranoid schizophrenic and my mother took care of her and her dad and three brothers until she married my dad. Mother was talking to us kids one night at the dinner table, I was somewhere between 16 and 20 years old, and she said that she couldn't cope with taking care of my dad, us kids, and everything else all by herself. I guess she was in essence asking for my help. I made the mistake of saying, "you don't have to be a doormat for everyone, you know? She was so hurt by my words. She also had a memory like an elephant. Everytime she got upset with me after that, I kid you not, she would say, "Well, I guess I'm just a doormat for my whole family!" I never was able to live that one down. You have to be careful what you say and how you say it.

Sorry your mom hurt your feelings, but she probably felt the weight of the world on her shoulders on that 30th birthday. Not that she should have treated you that way when you had tried your hardest to make her day special. I would have loved it if mine had made me homemade potholders for my 30th birthday.

Insane Mama said...

I am the one that ALWAYS takes care of everyone. Sorry about the pain, my mom has done some pretty rotten things too :)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...


We should start a club!

Hallie :)

Sue said...

I like your blog so much, you get and award. Swing by to pick it up!

Dana said...

I wish I could give 10 year old you a hug right now. I can only imagine how hurtful that would be to hear from your mom. It sounds like you were such a wonderful, thoughtful daughter. I am sorry that you were so hurt by your mom and I applaud you for being able to move past it and love her in spite of it. But man, that must have hurt.....

Reddirt Woman said...

My father was the one that cut to the quick with his words. I have tried, like you, to never say anything in quick anger because I know how it feels to be denigrated by someone you love and looked up to. Once they are out there those words can never be taken back, even if someone tried, which obviously neither my father or your mother tried to do.

And I don't have my Prince Albert can anymore either.


bfs said...

Forgiving her is the best gift you could have given yourself. Without that, you could not have healed.

And blessings on you for choosing the nursing field. Having just had knee surgery and wonderful nurses, I love you.