Mother’s Day is coming up soon and this year it’s got me feeling a bit blue. I’m not very close with my Mum. Actually that is a bit of an understatement. We visit her once every 18 months or so and apart from that the only time I have any contact with her, is to send her the boy’s Christmas lists, a ‘Thank You’ note on their behalf and then the occasional photo or video of the boys.
It wasn’t always like that. Yes. Once upon I time I idolised her.
From the age of five she took me to every single one of my riding lessons, damned the cost or the weather. She would stand on the edge of the arena and watch the whole time. Taking in as much as she could, so she could talk to me about it. She read through all of my books, learning the name for every part of the bridle and saddle. As every exam started approaching she would sit with me and help me remember everything.
When I was six, I remember her making me sleep in her bed one night. We lived in a rough area and the neighbours had people trying to smash their door down. She didn’t want me to sleep in my room that night because there were single glazed French doors in them and she was scared they would break into our flat and attack us. She cried herself to sleep that night.
Then when I was eight or nine, we went to a steps concert. We had fun dancing around and singing along. It wasn’t her sort of music, but she learnt the words because they were my favourite band.
After that she got married to her now ex-husband and it sort of went downhill after that. He was horrendously violent. When I was about eleven he held me up by my throat until I went dizzy, I kicked him in the face and he dropped me. I was struggling so much to breathe that I threw up. My Mum kept shouting at him, telling him I was a child and he can’t do things like that. The next day she had a black eye and marks up her arm. I knew them marks on her arm well. They were from arm twists and Chinese burns. I had them often too.
She left him a few years later, he didn’t like that. He tried to kill her. Stabbed her repeatedly. She defended herself long enough to escape, but I don’t think wounds like that ever heal. Not really. She was never the same after that. She went out a lot after he was gone and I was always left to babysit. Sometimes she would come back and ridicule me, put me down and tell me how I ruined her life. After a while I resented her and during my teenage years hated her to a degree. I made her life as difficult as mine had become. Eventually she grew tired of my behaviour, so I went to live with my aunt for a few years, but by then I was a bitter with the world and was so used to being left to my own devices, I didn’t really know how rules worked, nor did I like them.
Over time things gradually got better. I built myself up. I rented a room, attended college and worked outside of my lessons. It became increasing difficult to study while paying bills, so my grandmother let me stay there for my last year of college. Against the odds, I eventually got myself to university and graduated three years later with honours. My Mum came to my graduation with her boyfriend at the time. She likened it to the boredom of having to sit through a ‘rubbish school play’, something I would ‘understand’ when I had children.
Now I have my own family. I can’t imagine letting anyone lay a finger on them. I can’t imagine allowing them to have the childhood I did. I can’t imagine seeing their graduations as similar to ‘rubbish school plays’. To be honest, I doubt I would see their school plays where they are a tree or a sheep and think they are rubbish. I’ll be the parent sat there beaming, because I’m that irritating mum who would tell everyone how their child was the ‘best little sheep in the flock.’ I treasure the cards that the boys give me each year. The ones that have craft tissue paper stuck to the front, in the shape of what is meant to be a daffodil and each year I add them to the box in the airing cupboard with all of the other little treasures they have given me. On Mother’s Day I know I’ll spend my morning eating pancakes at the dining table with my family, then we will take a walk and when we get home we will all sit and watch a movie. Like we always do and it will be perfect.
It would be nice to have my old mum back. The one who used to like Mother’s Day and didn’t think it was commercialised nonsense. The mum who learnt the words to steps songs so she could sing along with me. The mum who stood in the freezing cold at the horse riding lessons nobody else turned up to and took note of everything so she could talk to me about the thing I loved doing the most. The mum who buttered both sides of the bread for dinner because there was nothing else to eat, but was adamant we would best make the most of it. The mum who although left a lot of her parenting to be desired, tried the best she could with what she had. But that isn’t the mum I have anymore, so I’ll skip past that blogger invite to a Mother’s Day spa package or the personalised gift I could send. The relationship with my Mum was broken years ago and I’m not sure the old one will ever come back.