Really, my mother should have been grateful that I gravitated toward kids with broken homes. My best friends and boyfriends all had fucked up lives by the time we'd hit middle school. My mother was constantly trying to steer me away from people she saw as "bad influences" and who I saw as the only people I could be real with.
But really, she should have been glad. After all, if my friends had come from loving, supportive, nurturing, abuse-free homes, I might have realized what a terrible mother she was in time to press charges against her.
I tend to think of my mom as a good mom. I get this from comparing her to the moms of my friends in my teen years. Becky's mom bought us alcohol when Becky was only 15. Jamie's mom was usually out sleeping somewhere with boyfriend du jour. Deborah's mom refused to even try to help her daughter, spiraling out of control from anorexia and drug abuse.
Of course my mom looked good by comparison! All she did was medically neglect me, let me walk with a dislocated hip for three years, never talk to me about sex or contraception, verbally abuse me, manipulate me, and make me hate myself enough to try suicide as a lifestyle.
This past Mother's Day I made an important emotional decision: I am done pretending I forgive my mother. I think I've been pretending my whole life, making excuses for her, singing her successes (she got a PhD while a single mother of three kids,) sweeping my pain and misery under the rug.
But I don't think 12-year-olds with good moms dart in front of traffic, hoping to get hit, as I did.
I don't think 6-year-olds with good moms start stockpiling food in their planned run-away lean-to. (Nor do most happy 10-year-old boys start hitch-hiking on the interstate, as my abused and unhappy brother did.)
Did my mother ever beat me? No. But she brought her mother into our home and our lives, to be our caretaker, and she allowed my Giggy to beat us. She read Focus on the Family and justified ritual, frequent abuse. She never meted out the blows herself - she wanted to be the Good One that we liked, after all. And it was a good scheme for a long time. For years I was convinced my mom was the Good Parent. Now I realize: I didn't have one of those.
I hope she reads this blog post, and understands why I didn't call to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. I think those should be reserved for good mothers.