Feeling Pensive

I tend to grow pensive this time of year. I’m pretty sure the end of this month is my mother’s birthday. A tidbit I gleaned somewhere along the way. Probably the 30th.

As that time draws near, I begin to think of her. Sometimes I’m angry. Other times I just feel sorry for her.

I’d like to get good and mad at her for walking away from me. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her decision. I doubt she made decisions.

Because from what I gather, she’s always been more a child than a woman.

She and her mother were so much alike in their childishness. A type of childishness that is permanent.

Since it runs in the family, I think possibly a form of autism. Not high functioning. But at the other end of the spectrum.

Still, that does not heal what’s inside of me.

You’d think whatever ties mother and child have, that symbolic umbilical cord that never really gets severed, would cause them to fight like hell before walking away from their baby.

But having grown up around her mother, my grandmother, I know they merely acquiesce. They do what they’re told. I watched my grandmother do that all the time I lived with her.

Whatever my granny said, she automatically did. Without complaint. Kind of like a robot.

And it pains me to say I didn’t have much patience with her either.

You can be angry about what happened. But when someone isn’t mentally capable of consent, they can’t really own what happened.

Which makes it even more difficult sometimes, at this time of year, for me to feel forgiveness. I dawdle back and forth. I’m mad at my mother, and yet I’m not.

Whatever happened on that day when I was six weeks old, I know deep down they did me a favor. My childhood might have been a box of shadows, but it was otherwise fairly normal.

I was fed and clothed and had a roof over my head. Something I know my siblings, all five of them scattered about the earth, did not often have.

So it’s like being angry with a box. It’s just an empty vessel.

The box can’t help that it’s empty. That it was tossed to the side and left unfilled.

Two women who simply got the short end of the stick from birth onward. How can you place blame when you know this?

Two little girls who never really grew up. Maybe they were able to give birth. But being capable of loving the child that slips out of them is another thing altogether.

So anything I might feel is outlined with this knowledge. It buffers my anger because there’s nowhere, no one, culpable for what and how I feel.

I could stand and throw a dart, but there is no feasible target.

So whatever I feel is tempered and diluted. You can’t fine tune an instrument that makes no sound.

With no one to direct it toward, your hurt and anger rise up like a balloon.

The string is in my hand. Eventually I have to let go of the balloon. I can’t just stand there holding onto it.

And so you do. You let go and watch it rise higher and higher up into the air. Until it becomes a dot in the sky and is finally out of sight.

You know it is the only choice you ever really had to start with.

Inside that balloon were all the tumultuous feelings you’d bottled up inside.

And now the vessel you placed them in for safekeeping is way up there somewhere in the blue, blue sky.

It’s like a rough edged knife has sliced through your feelings . But like a limb someone loses but still inexplicably feels, for all intents and purposes no one can see or touch it.

Can you see something that isn’t there?

The birthdays, the days one remembers because they’re stuck in your brain, are really of no consequence. Just days without purpose.

Like an empty box waiting to be filled.

“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind.” – Charles Dickens


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  1. Not everyone that gives birth is mother material I’ve dealt with my sister in law she had 5 children gave 1 up to her parents (my mother /father in law) they were in their 50’s to raise and they did my sister in law had 2 more children after that abd wanted me to take in her youngest child at age 4 her daughter at that time I had a 7/8 year old daughters my hands were full but I did help as much as I could I know my sister in law to this day regrets her actions of leaving her children mostly for men she has 1 relationship with her oldest daughter whom she lives with the kids she tried to raise turned out on drugs and in bad relationships the one she gave up is a registered nurse (oncology) the one one I helped raise is a teacher children need guidance and lots of love

  2. For those of us who grew up in less than ideal circumstances, there probably will always be times of wondering…and the “what ifs”…but for me, the fact remains, I know others who had even less of ideal, than I did…so it could have been worse…I never went hungry and always had ok clothes to wear…some of my friends did not. One friend grew up in a super poor home, but her parents loved each other so much and their children as well…that is ideal, frankly. There is no price tag on love…it being the most important thing.

  3. I hope it was cathartic to write about your feelings on this subject. You mentioned your siblings…I remember at one time you were in contact with your sister and spoke to her several times by phone. Are you still in touch with her?

  4. Brenda-May I recommend a movie I watched yesterday called My Louisiana Sky? I thought of you as I watched it. Some of it might resonate with you. It’s running on Tubi under Family movies but you may find it on another channel or on You Tube.

  5. As you grow into a woman, I think we all have times when we think of our childhood and our mother. This helps you develop as a mother.

  6. Brenda, Barbara Dobson is right when she said that your mother lost you! I do believe that if she had been in her right mindset she never would have let you go! You actually had a better life being brought up by your granny! Everything is meant to be and after all is said and done you turned out to have the qualities of a very loving mother despite not having your mother in your life!

  7. Brenda, you are doing great with all you do! My heart aches for you, but spring is Around the corner 🌷🌸💐

  8. Just because a woman gives birth it doesn’t make her a mother. Feel grateful for that. You are exactly what you were made to be. You are perfect for what you are. So many women would love to have what you have. A BRAIN!! Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance.

  9. Brenda, you lost your mother but on the other side of it she lost you ! Without even knowing that there was a win or lose, your mother lost YOU ! You who would have fought like hell for her. You who would have ended up being a mother to her. You would have loved, cared for and protected her from all the affronts of the world. There’s no doubt you lost out on the mother/ child relationship but your bond to your Mother is still strong as witnessed by your writing. Your bond to your children is strong so this loving nature is inherent within you. You’re a treasure that sadly your Mother never got to know. She may have been childlike but I believe she would have grown to know your value as you both lived together… if she had been given that chance. Someone, something took her away because from your words it does not sound as if she was capable to decide on her own to leave. I’m grateful there was a measure of normalcy in your life albeit small. I’m grateful you were fed regularly and clothed and had shelter. Every child deserves that much and yet some don’t get that much. You’re a fixer, Brenda. You take things and make them better. You do this daily in your apartment. You’ve done this with your life. I know you’ve struggled with relationships but look at you now ! You’re independent and you’ve successfully raised your daughters and a legacy lives in in your grandchildren who are loved and cared for. Brenda, you’re a success story. You’re a winner !❤️

  10. I guess you could look at it with knowing the love and bond and maternal instincts you have with your daughters. Your mother missed out on the bond between mothers and daughters. Instead of anger you almost have to feel sorry for her that she never got to experience what you have as a mother. A mother and child love that is deeper than any love there is. Glad you can feel and express your true feelings that you have about your past and your mother.

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