Day 160: Mothers and Daughters

Most of the girls that I grew up with did not want to grow up to be like their mom. And I was 1 of them. A lot of the reason for me was the very contentious relationship that we had from the day that I was born until I was 31 years old. She could have been the spokesmodel for the traditional 60’s stay at home housewife/mom. She spent most of my childhood looking for ways to get me in trouble with my dad because I was a daddy’s girl and I think that she was jealous of that. But, the kicker is that she pushed me to fill in for her when my dad went to the farm or to visit his mother or to run errands. So it was basically her fault that he and I were so close. She also felt the need to protect my brother, who was her very obvious favorite child, from my dad. If dad was going to the farm or out on one of his jobs, mom wouldn’t let my brother go because he might get hurt so I was sent in his place. That sent a pretty clear message. And if I did even the tiniest thing wrong, mom could barely wait for dad to come home so she could tattle on me. One time when I was in my early 20s when I was an assistant manager at Hasting’s Records in the mall, I stayed late to help someone put the price stickers on the new arrivals and then put everything out in the bins. When we finally finished, as a thank you, she gave me joint. I actually gave it back to her but when I got home I found it in my bag. I had never smoked pot at that point even though most of the people I hung out with did. I kind of freaked out and started to flush it but then I thought that I might try it at some point so I hid it in the back of my jewelry box and actually forgot about it. Then a few months later on a Sunday after my parents had left for church, my brother wakes me up and tells me that I am dead. Mom decided she wanted to borrow a necklace and got into my jewelry box. I know for a fact that the necklace was right there on top of everything but as per usual she took the opportunity to snoop. And she had to tell dad. As soon as they got home, I was called into the dining room for a talk. My dad told me how disappointed he was and pretty much followed the generic script of multiple after school specials. I told them how I ended up with it and that it had been in there for months. My dad told me that pot was too expensive for someone to just give it to me. I started to tell him that pot wasn’t that expensive but realized that would be a bear trap that I’d be setting for myself so I kept my mouth shut. Mom was loving it. She told me that she only told him because she was worried that I was starting down a wrong path and I needed to be set straight. Well, gee thanks, mom. As luck would have it, about a month later, I was in my 18 year old brother’s truck and lo and behold, there was a quart Baggie full of pot. Oh, mom, look what I found. And guess who’s selling and smoking pot. Do you think she told my dad? Of course she didn’t. She flushed it and it was never mentioned again. I guess she wasn’t too concerned about him going down the wrong path. So there was a very definite and obvious double standard. And I spent 31 years dealing with it. And then when I was 31, I was at my parents’ house and she and I were alone. Completely out of left field she asked me a very personal question that about which I would have normally lied my ass off. For some reason I thought just screw it and answered honestly. I waited for the blow up but it didn’t come she just told me to be careful and that was it. I knew that was her apology for all of the hell that she had put me through and I accepted it as such. From that day forward, we were good. And my brother kind of lost his shine in her eyes because of a few things that he had done. She told me how proud she was of me for being so independent and self sufficient after my divorce from my extremely abusive first husband. We had about 15 good years before her Alzheimer’s diagnosis and her rapid decline. Even though she didn’t know who I was, she was always so happy to see me and was funny and loving. But she was kind of mean to my brother. I felt sorry for him. My favorite photo of her is from when she was in the care facility. She looks happy. I miss mom a lot and I still talk to her. It will be 10 years on October 1st since she passed. It seems like it was much longer ago than that.

About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex with my husband, 3 dogs, and 6 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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1 Response to Day 160: Mothers and Daughters

  1. I get this. It took me quite awhile to make peace with my mother. Luckily I did and we had some very good years before her passing three and a half years ago.

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