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I have often joked that being a mother (or father) is a life sentence!  Well, I was kind of joking.  Even when your child is a smart, happy, high-functioning adult, deep underneath the cloak of  ‘job well-done’ is a mother, with her fingers crossed, holding positive thoughts for her kid.

I think of my mother who died 18 years ago.  She was a beautiful and talented young woman, emotionally damaged and not well physically.   Even as I chose to hold her pain, I didn’t really know what that was.   I responded to her hurt and sorrow by taking those things on and it made me mad in a way I didn’t understand.  I was angry with her, but truly I was angry with myself and am only now articulating that in this way.   I also took that anger out on myself.  I just didn’t know it at the time.

The idea of being a mother scared me…not just the actual giving birth part, but the responsibility of raising a child.  I didn’t feel that I had a very good role model.  I wasn’t sure I knew how to be a mom.  Who does?  Playing with dolls and babysitting aren’t preparation!  I babysat once, thought the kids were brats, and never did that again.   Dolls are compliant so what kind of training is that?

I’ve made many mistakes as a mom, some quite damaging.  For one thing, I never communicated to my daughter how I felt when she was born…the wonder I would experience when she did the smallest thing for the first time…how I would call her dad at work to tell him about something that had happened that day…the almost excruciating love I felt for her.

Then there was anger and frustration…when she exhibited a mind of her own about picking out socks or something like that and we had a schedule to keep!  Really my anger came when my parenting skills were challenged and found wanting.  I believe that much of this emotional baggage came from feelings in my childhood as well as feelings about my marriage.  My child was a convenient target for these emotions.  I regret that deeply.

In the final analysis, my mother did the best job she could have possible done and so did I.  Both our skill sets were a little lacking…I know I could have benefited from more tools in my tool box which would have been so much better for my daughter.

I don’t love anyone or anything like I love my kid.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  Being a mom made me a better person for which I give thanks.

Kels:me202-11-12

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