Maybe I love her (a little) and maybe I don’t (at all).
Why do I feel this way towards her? Take note: I’m going to be unsparingly upfront regarding our kinship yet don’t fail to account it as substantially my side of the story.
My mother and I have nothing in common. She has no sympathy for animals. No appreciation for literature or anything in depth. She’s never held a real job and spent most of her existence anticipating to be taken care of financially. She’s in every sense a baby during periods that she’s sick or afraid. Nothing glitters above her portion of the sky except money, fame, or anything emitting superficial glow. Her orbit centers on fussing over what other people would say. And I won’t elaborate on how she battered me way back my cherubim days because I’d cry at kindergaten school (she said she felt humiliated by my crying) whenever she’d be late in fetching me (I was scared of never being able to get home).
Pricking graphic, I know. Documenting what’s in my memory and mind, however, demands such single-mindedness.
There’s one more thing.
Not a chance in my whole life did I see my father and mother behave like husband and wife.
My father’s feelings of rancour toward my mother was an incomprehensible matter to me. It was something I wish he’d been open to — giving his relationship with the woman who provided him three kids a shot. Circumstances could have been less shitty. He never entertained the possibility. My supposition for his unforgiving stance pointed to his secret regret on his previous decision to give up his first family in which he had sired eight descendants – a long story that deserves a separate blog post (my head could ache right this minute).
My parents expected their children to take sides. I tried to stay neutral by rationalizing both of them didn’t pay proper attention to me since, in contrast to my elder sis, I hardly possessed promising qualities for stardom. Even so, my connection to my father had always been solid; his presence never ceased functioning as a deep force in my life.
My mother found ways to make me pay the price for not siding with her. Plus she must not have known what to do with her middle child who is the exact opposite of her, has a mind of her own, talks back, and has no potential whatsoever for showbiz prominence by reason of that particular child’s plain looks and inessential bashfulness.
Consequently, her relatives (with her prodding) who were equally displeased ‘coz I wasn’t “hung up on mom”, the same relatives my father regarded with distaste, kept broaching on how I look very much like him and display many of his characteristics.
Within our family the arrows of strain and divide drove deeper through the years. Both my siblings have continually resented my not sharing the same devotion they’ve afforded our mother. They don’t get it. I’d rather not veil my cold heart and would prefer being subjected to judgment or criticisms than put on an act; I couldn’t bring myself demonstrating affections that don’t exist.
And perhaps they don’t get it, too, I still feel darned sore my father perished out of their admitted deliberate neglect (they lived under one roof). My mother didn’t even attend my father’s burial — which fell along my sister’s dominion — owing to hypocritical justifications too deplorable to discuss at length.
That’s the kind of dysfunctional family I came from; the kind of damage it has inflicted upon its members. Make no mistake, she and I had had good times (though few). We do talk when the occasion permits. There are moments as well when guilt would creep in and I’d call to check up on her (even though she lives like a queen under my sister’s care).
But it’s impossible to scoop up now the love in me she might need as one of her children or whatever compassion for her I might have long ago buried within.
It is what it is, a friend had once told me. These personal narratives of mine, no matter how raw and searing, I can’t just lock inside of me. And I want to acknowledge that whatever strength I still own stems from the comforting fact I am my father’s daughter.