My Mom is Still a Mystery

You might think a grandmother would cherish a letter from a grandchild.

Mom’s actions indicated she never wanted a close relationship with my children, even though they have sought her out.

Nearly two years ago my son wrote her a letter. I know my son loves her, but I am not sure my Mom loves him, let alone knows him. When I asked Mom about the letter she said, “Well he’s got his life and I got mine.”

The question on my mind was, ‘what do you mean by that?’ I didn’t ask it because I don’t want to know and I don’t think Mom knows.

My oldest daughter has written her a few times and Mom never replies.

My youngest daughter was at my sister’s funeral. She sat and talked with Mom and her affect was unemotional.

Nevertheless I want my children and grandchildren to know something about her that may explain her lack of responsiveness.

That brings to mind one final story about Mom:

When she was a young girl her family visited a couple of Aunts in Piqua, Ohio. Mom tried to win there love and attention, but was unable; she perceived it going to her older sister.

This disturbs Mom to this day; events that happened at least ninety years ago.

Mom said she would never treat any of her family that way.

Mom vacationed in Hawaii when my daughters were five and three. When she returned she came by the house and brought my oldest daughter a gift, a dress with a matching blouse. Suddenly she remembered she had nothing for my younger daughter. Mom went though her purse and found a trinket handed out to passengers from American Airlines. That was my younger daughter’s gift.

My daughter accepted the gift, but saw the sharp contrast between her gift and her older sister’s.

Later I said to my Mom, “You being home is the best gift, but if you can’t give something near an equal gift than just bring yourself, that way no child we suffer disappointment.”

The concept seemed strange to Mom. She said, “Than I’ll get them both nothing from now on.”

That was meant to elicit and apology from me. “That will be fine, Mom. Like I said your presence is enough, but please don’t treat one better than the other, remember how that made you feel with your Aunts.”

Mom looked at me as if I was being impertinent. She immediately changed the subject.

That’s it. That’s the last story. That’s the story I’ve waiting to get out.

In some ways these stories probably say more about me and not being able or wanting to confront her every step of the way as she inched further from me and my family. So I don’t know any more now than I did as a teenager. I was hoping for a grand conclusion; something profound and insightful. I think a stranger might know, but not me.

In many ways she is very remarkable and yet in many other ways she remains a mystery. People who are mysteries are that by design. Mom led a life of judging others harshly. Perhaps she has always been in fear of letting others know who she is for fear of the same judgmental attitude toward her she has demonstrated towards others. I must be satisfied that she will take many secrets and mysteries to the grave.

If you have been reader of these episodes about my Mom I hope you have enjoyed them. If you have only read a few of the posts about my Mom the rest are under “Mom” in Categories on the right side bar. When you consider the whole body of work you will likely come to the same conclusions I have; she’s a real hoot!

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