I hope you read this. That you’re still poring over my blog page for scraps of information. Ammunition to take to my dad, grilling him as to why he hasn’t kept you fully briefed on ‘your’ daughter. Tid bits that allow you to continue to play the role of doting mother to your adoring public. You love that don’t you? Even when we aren’t speaking it filters back to me, how you’ve been telling the staff at our local supermarket all about my fight and how you’re doing your best to support me. To get me through. Snippets about my life learned second hand, through my poor dad or the Internet.
Why doesn’t he tell you more? I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve told him unequivocally not to. I’ve snarled and bristled when talking about our history. I’ve sobbed to him over hurts you’ve caused me time and time again. I’ve begged him to close the window you have on my life. Because I’m done. So so done. This time I mean it.
Why has it come to this? How did we get to here? That I can’t even look at my mum, mam, my mammy?! Alienated from my siblings thanks to the wedges you began drilling between us from before my memories even start. How did we come to this, when I thought you were my best friend? The one I could confide in always. The person I woke up after long shifts on my feet so I could share all the events of the evening. The mum who brought me a change of clothes when I ripped my Christina Aguilara jeans on a night out, then joined me to dance the evening away; knowing I was years too young but trusting the morals you’d instilled in me. The woman who threatened the school bully with a baseball bat after she burnt my hand purposefully at a guiding event. I’ll never forget the look of fear in her eyes when you reminded her you live next to the school gates, own a hefty baseball bat, and will defend your children as far as is needed. She towered a good foot over you, but she never so much as looked at me wrong again; her rain of terror was over.
It wasn’t all bad. That’s what’s made it so hard for me. Kept me coming back, a glutton for punishment. Time makes the bad memories fade away and keeps the good ones in a golden haze. It must be some kind of human preservation, but all it has ever done for me is keep me trailing back to the hurt our relationship causes me. Because even in the best of times, when we had long summers at our caravan and you smiled out from behind your large rimmed Dierdre glasses; in high school when you let my friends treat our house like it was their own, or all those holidays I remember your perm and that funny clown tshirt you loved so much. Even then something dark ran through our relationship. You must know it? I loved you so much I didn’t realise, I’ll always love you.
Things really started to change as I got older. Stopped agreeing with everything you said and started questioning. Started becoming my own person. At the same time, I started becoming ill. Not that we knew it. Not that we knew the lifetime of hell my body would face. Back then to you I was just a lazy teenager and you sure let me know it! I’ll never forget the day I didn’t do the pots soon enough for your liking. ‘You’re a lazy worthless little cow!’ Just inches from my face. These outbursts were regular, set off by anything it seemed. Do you remember saying those things to me? At thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. You must remember this one, you still use it now ‘I love you, but I don’t like you very much’. A barb that still catches at my heart, stinging when my daughter tells me she doesn’t like me, she loves me! Meant as a compliment but bringing up years of hurt.
You may not remember all this. But I do. My friends do. The friends who witnessed you grinding down at my confidence. Who saw my sister following suit. Saw her thinking it was ok to tell all the boys I was FRIENDS with I was a slag and would screw anyone who paid an interest. Fifteen and a virgin (save for the guy who doesn’t count because I didn’t say YES) and my sister is offering me out like the local whore. My friends who witnessed me agonising over who my father could be, after the story I’d been fed all my life was flipped on its head. When my sister rung and called me a bastard child. Which I forgave. Forgave the times she threatened me. The times she let her father laugh and sneer in my face. Forgave all the shit she gave me for sticking up for you. Forgave until she threatened me one last time, in front of my daughter. My four year old daughter and my niece. Yet still I love her too.
Because, through all that, I still thought you was my best friend. When you messaged me during my first weeks at uni, telling me how I’d ruined your life and you needed pills to get over me moving away. When you would flit between myself and my siblings; telling tales and causing arguments so you could choose a side and enjoy the battle. When every single time I stuck up for myself I heard the same thing ‘I’m such a bitch, it’s all my fault. You’re breaking my heart!’ Even when I merely repeated the words you’d stated to me back and asked why you said them, even then I was still made to feel in the wrong. I still believed what we had was a normal mother daughter relationship.
Friends, partners, councillors and psychologists have all tried to steer me away from the clusterfuck that is our maternal bond. My psychologist literally begged me not to step back towards the black hole I’m sucked into whenever we are close. But I couldn’t stay away. Sometimes a month. Sometimes a year. Sometimes longer. There was always a time I’d open the doors and let you back in. Hoping beyond hope that things would be different. That the good times that shine so vividly in my head would return. That you’d be my mum, loving and unconditional; not holding your affections over me like a noose around my neck. It never happened.
If anything things got worse each time. Especially now my brother lives at home. You have the prodigal son to form a symbiotic relationship with. To entwine your lives together and rely on each other wholly. That’s what you wanted of me. To rely on you and bend my life to your requirements. To earn your love, a love that should always just have been freely given. Something I began to realise when I became a mother myself. When I heard that voice in my head telling me time and time again that I will not only slather my children in love, no matter their choices in life, but remind them how likeable and wonderful they are each day as best I can. To instil them with a confidence your years of degrading comments sucked from me. Comments about my singing voice sounding like nails on a chalk board. Comments about my ugly spotty back in the ballgown I loved. Comments about me not trying hard enough to battle my illness, when I fight it with all I’ve got each day. Using my ill health and the way I cope with it as another stick to flog me with.
The question remains, why am I laying this bare? Why am I opening up the most upsetting aspect of my life and spreading it bare for the world to see?
It was the day you wouldn’t allow my children and I to come visit. Instead leaving me to struggle with a one year old and a cold wet garden. I asked you one last time. Treat me as an equal. Treat my kids equally. Stop placing my daughter on a pedestal above my boys. Stop painting me as the black sheep of the family. Treat me like I’m your daughter, no more than my siblings; but no less. Don’t come to me stoking the flames of drama between me and my brother, don’t allow his petty sensibilities stop my kids being able to come see you at Christmas and Mother’s Day, in the house I grew up in. Treat us equally, or leave us alone. I didn’t want my kids ever feeling a second of the emotions I’ve felt my whole life. You chose to walk away, branding me a trouble causer for even asking. For promising with that offer to always be pleasant and polite with my siblings should I see them in your home; as I would be in front of my children anyway. Telling anyone who would listen how out of line I was for asking and how I need to apologise.
I don’t need to apologise. Not to you.
The only person I need to apologise to is my daughter. The poor little girl who witnessed your ugly outbursts more than once. Who has had you dip in and out of her life at your leisure. Who has been taken out for the day then returned home to me within an hour, because her behaviour was SO terrible (my daughters worst days are angelic compared to many children and that’s no exaggeration). Who I had to console and dry her tears when you blurted out that you’d never come to our house and see her again, because I wouldn’t bend to whatever it is you wanted of me at that time. She was three, late for school because I had to calm her after she begged grandma not to dessert her. Which you always did. Whenever we fell out you’d disappear from her life for months on end, despite the fact I never kept her from you.
Never until now.
The worm has well and truly turned. The night you refused my offer of a normal loving relationship was it for me. I saw my children’s heartbreak and upset laid before me and I put a stop to the cycle. Full stop. That was months ago. But yet again you’re starting to try and worm your way back in. Not for love. But for control. For ownership of YOUR daughter, YOUR grandchildren. Well it’s not happening. My daughter is still young enough to forget any upset you put me through. My boys will barely remember you, if at all. I’m ending this cycle and I’m doing it publicly in the hope that it really rams it home.
Leave us alone. You are not part of my family anymore, nor are you part of my children’s. It’s over.
Of course I’ll still cry myself to sleep some nights. I’ll lay on hospital beds wishing I had my mammy to comfort me. But let’s face it, that’s just a daydream. The relationship I thought we had was never real.