Most days, I can forget about the things that really bother me. The things that break my heart and tarnish my soul. After 39 years, I have just about perfected the act of overlooking my pain. Then, suddenly, something so silly, something mundane or obscure will bring memories flooding back, in a tidal wave of sadness. Today is one of those days.
Mum's backyard in Nova Scotia.
My cousin T took her neice to Nova Scotia for a week this summer. I wanted so badly to stow away with them, I miss the ocean and my friends more than words can articulate. I need to smell the ocean, I need to hug Heather tight, and meet her kids. I feel an urgency to visit all of my old haunts, and to spend a late night laughing with my brother and sister in law.
I try to put Betty and Stan out of mind. I usually do.
Then, T and her niece posted photos on facebook that maade my heart skip a beat and made me feel so melancholy that I am afraid that I will never be the same again.
My Mum and I have always had a noxious relationship. She has resented me from the day that I was born. She married my father to keep my older brother, TMOC out of a foster home, and because, back in 66, you just didn't live on your own with a kid. He was a way out for her, and he loved her more than life itself.
Stan, fishing in his yard.
By the time I was three, the marriage was over and my mum was gone, moved away with our next door neighbour, leaving four little kids without a parent...My aunt Josie, Betty's sister took care of me for about three weeks while my Dad got his life in order. My aunt Josie would later tell me that I cried for the whole three weeks, asking when my Mum was coming back.
She never did. I still saw most of her family, but I seldom saw Betty. When I did, it was usually a horrific visit. She would send me to my room for the slightest infraction ( drinking the last of the milk from my cereal bowl was an instant time out). I hated the apartment, I hated my step father (It would later be revealed that he had been abusing me most of my childhood), and I hated sharing Christmas with my new step brothers, the kids that used to live next door to me. She was gone so often that I couldn't tell the difference between her and my aunt Jackie.
Mum, in her kitchen August 2008
Worst of all, her visitation was hit and miss. I might not see her for weeks, or even months, and then she would reappear, just when I was finally adjusting to life without her.
She moved to Nova Scotia when I was 11, leaving me and TMOC behind.
I saw her twice in the years between 12 and 15. The summer of my 15 th year, I was sent to stay with her and Stan. I was angry, sullen and resentful.
It was a disaster.
Twenty days before I turned 16, I was sent on a 'visit' to her house. When I asked when I would coming home, my father informed me that I was now a permanent resident of Dartmouth.
I loved my Mum. I did. Her expectations were unattainable for me. Straight A's in school - something that I had never gotten in my life. I was expected to be something that I had never been...Her perfect, Miss Teen. The punked out teen that she picked up at the airport was not what she had envisioned.
Things only got worse....She and Stan had a drinking problem. They humiliated me at every turn. She thought that I was the little 3 year old that she had left all those years ago.
Hah. She could not have been more wrong.
On a warm June afternoon, I ran away from home,and never returned. I was 1o days shy of my 17 th birthday. I had all that I could take of the drinking, and the abuse. I was tired of hiding bruises and trying to be someone that I could never be.
Fast forward 20 + years, and nothing much has changed. We argue and then make up. We scream and cry and then profess our love for each other...Until now.
Betty refuses to speak with me. Or my kids. She does everything in the world for my brother, who can do no wrong in her eyes. No matter how badly he screws up, he has her undying love and affection. TMOC gets married and he is a
My 1st wedding she created a scene and almost ruined everything.
He finishes hair dressing school (she helped him out during that time) and he is big man on campus.
I graduted from my PSW course, second in the class with honours, and I don't even get a phone call.
My Dad dies and again, not so much as a phone call.
TMOC's bio Dad dies and Betty practically writes a novel telling everyone how great he was. She gave TMOC money to get to Ontario and payed his way for the whole trip.
TMOC and I get along very well, until we start discussing our parents. We actually stopped speaking for a year once, because of Betty.
Now? He is a frequent vacationer at her country home.
I had never even seen photos until my cousin posted her photos.
I had no idea that seeing those photos would bother me so much. I thought that I was dealing with the rejection just fine. I really thought that Betty was out of my head, finally.
The truth is, I am 39 and I still crave my Mums love, acceptance and affection. I see photos of her and it all comes flooding back.
I become that little 3 year old girl, yearning for her Mommy.
I doubt that will ever change.
I just need to find a way to live with it.