Its been a lifetime of trying to win her over, a fight for her affection, attention and love. Since I can remember, I have been holidng her hand, sitting in her lap, practically begging for love. I didnt know I was doing it at the time, it wasnt until much later in life, after I had children and they were grown, I realized I was fighting for something I could never attain. I kept trying, for the majority of my life, I really believed if I was a good girl and keep trying, that I'd somehow be like her real daughter, right up until the moment she died I believed she would give me a sign. A sign that let me know my efforts, love, affection, loyalty and devotion to her were not in vain. I never got that sign from mom, and I cannot explain to you how deeply sad I am about this now. I will never have another chance to make her mine.
A few years ago I was scanning old photos for my nieces wedding present, you know making a huge photo album of our family photos and not wanting to use originals. Since mom has died, family wants access to all the thousands of family photos I've scanned. Digging deep in my cloud I added thousands of photos to Dropbox, one by one.
One by one, I noticed something I had never noticed before. I’m holding moms hand , sometimes with one hand , sometimes with both of my hands, leaning into her body . Clearly I was an affectionate small child. The look on my face in between mom and dad in Christmas photos , I look proud . I even lean into dad , appearing very affectionate, which I’m sure I was until I reached about 3rd grade and realized what was going on. And of course I guess I wasn’t as cute by 3rd grade and the novelty of being the baby wore off . By 3rd grade I must have found my own personality and started to have my own opinions. Looking back now I realize dad must have not liked who I was even in 3rd grade or maybe I wasn’t as cute or maybe it was just because he never wanted to adopt and was forced into it by mom? Probably a combination of all of these things but I’m guessing my looks and personality were drastically different than my sisters who was his biological child .
I realized last night while cooking dinner that it’s over , this struggle, this fight to somehow prove to my mom that I am worthy of her love , affection and trust . This deep desire to belong to this family , is over . No more trying so hard to be perfect, to cook the perfect dish for birthdays and holidays. No more trying to sell myself to a family who clearly has never truly accepted me as one of them . As I cook my creamy potato cheese soup I think of mom , how she loved this soup and how I will never again cook her another meal . I will never again try to prove my worth to any of them again . Sacrifice my health and well being to somehow get a smile or the reaction that only in my mind means I am accepted as one them. Every visit with them results in a score , we rate the visits like the Olympics . Score cards showing how this visit rates and I’m usually saying , oh they seem nicer or kinder this time . Hoping that somehow , someway, I have managed to convince them that I am worthy of their love and trust .
A GIANT burden has been lifted off my shoulders since mom has died. The game is over , nobody won. Truthfully I am the biggest loser . It is now clear, they really just don’t trust me as they do their own blood related family . If you were here and could see the way they acted and looked at me while my own mom was dying you’d understand why I felt I was intruding on their private and personal journey of watching mom die . I was a stranger amongst them , not even appreciated like the paid caretakers were. I have never felt so alone and lost in my life as I did in the hours before mom died. At one point we were all standing around mom and I let my niece find a spot around her bed. She looked at me and said no, you can stand here...shes your mother. I paused, and had no answer or reaction to that. I thought, oh...you really had to say that out loud, that she is my mother too? Did you just realize that after 32 years of life?
I realized as I wiped away my tears and served moms favorite soup ( from scratch ) last night, that the fight is over. My dearest husband said to me "Dear" you have been married to me for 35 years, longer than you lived with your parents. I am your family and so are our children. We debated the issue, and it was clear to me last night for the first time, that mom really never was able to bond with me, or have the same feelings about me as she did her own birth child. She wanted to have those feelings about me, but never could force herself to feel it. Its over now, the fight to try and win her over, to force her to have the same feelings about me, is absolutely over. I will never be put in that situation again. I will never feel like an intruder again with their family, the odd man out. I realized last night that I dont have the same love for my own mom as the others do, not becusae I didnt try, and not because I didnt want that wonderful feeling of belonging to my mom, but because she has failed me her entire life. It is my moms fault and no fault of mine, and somehow I have to accept this hearbreaking reality and keep breathing and living each day. Some mornings I wake up and cant believe I will never get another chance to make it right with mom, but I also have found comfort in knowing the fight to belong to her and the rest of my family is over.