Saturday, June 26, 2010

Conversation With My Mother

I haven't talked to my mother since last month. I am the world's worst daughter and I know it. So I call her this morning and she says, "I haven't heard from you since my birthday," which is untrue, I spoke to her on Mother's Day. But anyway, I say, "And I haven't heard from YOU since your birthday."

Getting off to a good start, right?

So she asked me what was new and I said nothing much, I've just been staying busy taking care of Owen. I started talking about him- safe topic, one would think. He's her great-grandson. She said, "I know you must love him."
"Oh, I do. And he loves his grandmother."
"Well, that'll change."


"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Oh, things change. You'll have to learn not to be so attached to him."
"Things just change."


In the space of a ten minute conversation she made me feel like a complete and utter dumb shit. And guilty. About I don't even know what. For taking care of my grandson. For loving him too much or something. For not doing something about her ill health. For being alive, most likely.

And you know? I let her do this. I absolutely allow it to happen.

My niece and nephew were there with her, which was good because the conversation had to be necessarily short. They wanted to go swimming and there's a pool where my mother lives. If the conversation had gone on any longer I would have had to go hunt up some razor blades. As it was, I just went to the cabinet and took my anti-depressant.

Happy Saturday, y'all.
Love...Ms. Moon (who feels about one inch tall and six years old)


  1. oh,
    we should talk about all of this one day.
    or laugh,
    or cry
    and that is just her way of expressing pain .
    she doesn't know
    she doesn't

    (I haven't talked to my mother in 9 years)

  2. Dear Ms. Moon, I understand totally. I have days when I feel about 1 mm tall because I have let someone make me feel that way. It was my doing not theirs. So now I know that I am really 6 feet tall and a good guy. I don't have to listen to others heaping their stuff on me. And it is about them, not me. Just to let you know.

  3. ach...we spoke about this in private allready so you know what i think about well about my own beeing a bad bad son...

    let it go..i know its so hard..a barely manage it myself..but it works somehow...

    my grandma was towards me like you are to owen..when i was a kid i mean...i still love her..sure things change..but this kind of love dont...

  4. My grandma and I are very close to this day. Just because your mom said that to you doesn't make it true. I hope you grow tall again. :) You're an amazing, out of this world, unusually fabulous grandma, and you deserve to feel proud and happy about it.

  5. Ms. Moon, you're children love you. Even now. Owen loves you and will continue to do so. There is no reason not to believe that. I'd love to have you as a grandma and I had a damn good grandma to begin with! It's the relationship with my parents I struggle with. Like you but for different reasons.

    Hot, sweaty southern hugs for you today, Ms. Moon.

  6. Love you, MM.

    If I may be so bold, I think your mother is explaining to you there exactly what she felt she had to do with YOU -after she refused to accept what really happened to you and realized she couldn't have much of a relationship with you anymore -she had to disassociate somewhat.

    Her loss.

    Kiss Owen an extra bunch, and be glad for all the time you spend with him. I miss my granny every single day.

  7. Wrong! That's just your mother's negativity and whatever her own issues are. My grandmothers, grandfathers, mother, father, and aunts and uncles were to me the way you are with Owen. It never changed. Never! I always knew I was loved in the best kind of way and so do Mr. Moon, your children, Owen, and grandchildren yet to be. There's a good reason you haven't been in touch with her. She's toxic. You aren't.

  8. Oh, no wonder you're in a pissy mood.

    That was toxic. And you know it's all about her and nothing to do with you. Don't let it touch the Owen love! One day you'll be in your eighties, and this fine strapping man will be coming to see his beloved granny who gave him so much.

    Ugh. God forbid we be allowed love the children. Silly bitch.

    Um. Sorry, But. Not deleting.

  9. Ms. Moon, thanks for sharing this. I agree with what Joy and everyone else says. I can relate so much even though I don't have grandkids yet. She is jealous and she has issues. You've broken that chain. Things will not change with Owen and your children and your future grandkids.
    I always wondered if my mom would get the hint as to why I don't call much. I told her some in an email last fall and she told me she was "letting go" and we didn't talk for months and months and months. I never slept so well...
    Go love on that man (the big one and the little one).

  10. Let me tell you something. Granny is a fine grandma to have, and I'm glad for all the times that I've spent with her, but Owen and all the other future grandchildren that you and Daddy have will know something so special in your relationship, which far surpasses what Granny has with us. Owen is one of the luckiest little men in this world because not only are his parents wonderful and loving, but so are his grands. Y'alls relationship will morph, but so shall everything in this world.
    I'm sorry that Granny makes you feel guilty, but just know that you are way more amazing than how she makes you feel.
    I love you Mama!

  11. When my sister rang me to ask what I wanted as a wedding present, but really to guilt trip me because she hadn't received her wedding invitation yet and was wondering if she was invited (as I sat surrounded by bits of paper I was assmebling) and then moved on to her agrrievedness that she wasn't bridesmaid and how people kept asking her...

    And afterwards, sitting in same sea of pretty paper, I rang my mother to try to demist some of the horrible dark fog that was whirling round my hot brain, and she said, don't worry - whe nyour sister feels bad, it makes her feel better to make other people feel bad too. Then she feels ok, and leaves it all dumped on them.

    She did this to my mother at 1 in the morning most often.

    My point agian - it's not you.

  12. That sounds like a conversation between my mom and her mother. And what it's starting to be with my mom and me.. oy... how do we let it keep cycling? It's bad.
    I'm sorry :(

  13. mothers should not create this feeling within us. they should be nurturing the opposite. they should be pouring love and hope into us. oh man, i know this feeling well. im sorry.

  14. And THAT is why you don't call her often.

    Things will NOT change with you and Owen.

    Put her mean words out with the trash where they belong.

  15. Oh, and my relationship with my grandma is the one I treasure more than any other.

    You are giving Owen a gift of amazing proportions.

  16. I hope we are the last generation to have to feel this way after speaking to our mothers. I like what Nicole said... "Just because she said it, doesn't make it true."

    I wish you had come berry picking with us... we got 4lbs of blueBs!!! So you have at least an lb coming your way.

    Hope you shake of the puny blues soon.

  17. sigh....i so get this my sweet Ms Moon. i do.
    i'm sorry you felt that way and hope our love and words here can lift you right up out of that.
    the deep connection we have to mother-pain is like an undertow, a meshup of emotion like seaweed and shark and brine and snail and fish and mermaids all in one.

  18. I once saw a comic in The New Yorker of a house in the distance with a neat path leading up to it. A woman stood at the street, at the end of the path and walked toward it. In the next segment, there is a tiny girl standing at the door with a man and woman standing at the open door, greeting her. The caption was: Going Home. I don't know why, at our ages, we still take on those same, tired roles of our childhood, but it happens. It seems pathetic and in some ways it is, but I do think your self-awareness is what matters, Ms. Moon. And I loved my grandmother to death until she died at 92 when I was almost forty years old. Some things don't change, and love sometimes never dies. So there, Ms. Moon's mother.

  19. Ms. Moon how I felt like I have had that very similiar conversation with my mom...I know the utter loss of why to stay on the phone and be treated so horribly! Yet "the good daughter" in us does and once off the phone our tender hearts are broken in two. Unless one has had a mother like that it is hard for others to think "dear mommy" could really be that way. Well the pain of it all is there and right now I am sending you a huge hug and telling you that WE are beyond fantastic daughters, amazing moms and simple divine wives....!!!

  20. You are cultivating love with Owen. That's something our mothers were not so good at, for whatever reason.

    Owen will always love his Grandma Moon. That's just the way it's gonna be. So don't you worry about that. His sun will rise and set on you.


    wv: blessei

  21. Oh, lovely, loving Ms. Moon ~ your love with Owen will grow and change and be ever-special ~ that's what happened with my grandmother and me. She died fourteen years ago and I still love her as much as ever and will always appreciate the unconditional love she showered upon me!

  22. Don't let it get to you Ms. Moon. What you have with Owen will remain precious for as long as you both live. I had that with my grandmother and my husband had it with his. My son and nephews have it with my mom. Love you and thank you for your sweet comment.

  23. First, your mother is a nutjob and toxically negative without cause.

    Second, there is the evidence that all four of your children love you so very nearly and dearly. Why would this sort of relationship not extend to the next generation when you are already so close?

    Third, there's the psychosocial component. While many children in our culture do indeed distance themselves from their parents when self-discovering, there is no such trend of separation from extended family including grandparents.

  24. I used to keep tiny clothes around for when I shrank, now I just go naked, it makes me grow back into my normal size much quicker.
    Love you mucho

  25. Yes, what they all said about not taking on your mother's view of the world.

    Looking up to your great abilities as a G'ma and sending love! x0 N2

  26. In agreement with much of what everyone else has said. And- while you're able to get off the phone and recover, she's still there inside the self that tried to offload those perspectives, expectations, sensations. The New Yorker cartoon that Elizabeth described is apt for many of us, obviously---all resonating so easily with your experience. Read some John Updike. I know the man/mother relationship is utterly different, but still, he's so good at observing, simultaneously engaged and disengaged.

  27. Yikes ... what a zinger.

    The only change that occurs with a love like yours with your little one(s) is that the love grows deeper and deeper ...

    It is a horrible thing to hear a mother say "Don't get attached." Our bonds with loved ones are as necessary to our survival as air, water, food ...

  28. I think what she said was mean. Sorry, but I do. Is she jealous much? That's my thought.

  29. Lots of things do change. But speaking for myself, my love for my grandmother has only ever grown, even when I didn't know there was any more room for it to grow.

  30. Oh, I'm sorry I got to this post so late. Your mother sounds like a right laugh. (Not.) I so know about being reduced to a six year old. I hope it didn't last too long.

    I don't know what it is with mothers who want to bring their children down. Mine didn't stop until I lost my self-confidence (she called it arrogance), free will (pickiness?) and happiness (childishness). I try to tell myself these days that she had it even worse and did the best she could. It doesn't really work.

    Big hug to you.

  31. Oh, and she tells me similar things about not loving people as much - I even dare to disagree occasionally now. No need to "toughen up" my children like that.


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