February 24, 2006

Mom Assumes

My mom and I do not get along. We had our battles when I was a teen, and nothing was ever resolved. Currently, she's estranged from me for the second time, having cut off communications with both myself and my late sister four years ago.

The first time, she cut herself out of our lives for nearly 17 years. When she decided to open the lines of communication, albeit briefly, in 1992, it wasn't long before she started in on my younger sister and I about having children. My younger sister had two children, which she put up for adoption. I am in contact with her college-bound youngest daughter, a strong-willed girl who is exactly like her birth mother in many ways. I thought my mother was being insensitive when she kept saying things to my sister like, "Is there a way you can get those kids back? That's a shame you gave them away." There was no recognition that my sister did what was best, not only for her, but for the children, at all. No matter how many times my sister stated that she was not going to be pregnant again, Mom would continually ask, "Think you'll have some more kids?"

My younger sister had already been subjected to the insensitive comments of our older half-sister and our late grandmother when she first made the decision to put her children up for adoption. According to them, that was something that African-American women just didn't do, on a no-no list right next to abortion. Grandma grumbled, but our half-sister ranted. "Your kids are going to get older, find out what you did, and come back and kill you!" she snapped at my younger sister. I continue to be amazed--and proud--that my late sister managed to stand up under their gross lack of support.

On my mother's part, I knew that deep down inside my mother was aware that she had messed up with her kids (my oldest brother passed away when he was three months old; my youngest brother passed away when he was twenty-two). Angry because her life did not go the way she wanted, she took it out on us via emotional and verbal abuse. Mom was nowhere to be found when my sister was pregnant. She showed up after all had been said and done, expressing her desire to be a grandparent. "I expected to come back to Chicago and find you two with children," she said, with disappointment in her voice.

I told my mother that I was childfree, but that didn't put her off from hoping I would make her a grandma. She wouldn't say anything to me directly, however; she'd go behind my back and pester my younger sister. "You think Hillari will have a baby?" One day, we were at her apartment, and I was complaining about something a kid had done. Mom suddenly cut me off. "Okay, we all know you don't like kids," she said curtly. I was offended that she would automatically assume that about me just because I did not want to be a parent. I wanted to start an arguement, but I figured it was useless. As far as Mom is concerned, no else's opinion ever matters except hers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the people closest to us can do the most damage. My heart goes out to you both but especially your sister for having to make such tough emotional decisions -- and not getting the support she deserved an needed.

It's true for us all that only we can determine what is right for us.

Freedom is all about choice. One of the things we Purple Women, the childFREE (not childless), recognize is that we DO have a choice. And it can be the right one, for many different reasons.