Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More History....

I wrote this last year....a little deep and a little long, but worthwhile....

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? There are so many people who just believe that everyone else should take responsibility for them, and that they shouldn't suffer the consequences of their own poor decisions. For example, I have known many, many people who ting that the world is out to get them. These very people have chose not to finish school, they choose to speak, dress and behave poorly. And they wonder why they can't make it on their own. They don't want to hold down any job that requires them to show up on time, dress in a professional manner,and god forbid, the be held accountable for making sure the job is done properly. To them, it's everyone else asking too much of them.

I grew up along the coast in the southeast, with my grandparents. My mother had me at the age of 14, and was never able to care for me. Of course, as a child, I didn't know the difference. I guess I assumed all parents were like her. My father was young as well, but not allowed to see me or my mother. (I don't agree with that decision, but I can understand my grandparents not wanting the boy [who got their fourteen year old daughter pregnant] around. It was the '70's after all and these things were embarrassing to a family. So, instead of my mother doing all the things a mother should do, my grandparents and my mother's best friend, (Aunt Sharon) were my caretakers. Aunt Sharon picked me up and treated me as her daughter. When she married and moved away, she tearfully begged my grandparents to let her adopt and raise me. I have had wonderful role models, and been loved deeply in my life. I now enjoy a close, loving and (most importantly) a healthy relationship with my father and step-mother. Those who have loved me have saved me. As a young girl I looked up to my mother. I thought she was pretty and she was definitely cool. The mothers of all my friends were...well, old. I had no idea what a mother was really supposed to be like.

As I got older, I started to see the advantages of having a real mother. I wished for one. My grandmother was emotionally unavailable, my grandfather was a gem, but he had no idea how to be open emotionally. Aunt Sharon had married and moved away. I retreated into books. I planned out the kind of life I wanted to give my own children someday. I saw then, that my mother wasn't the kind of mother I wanted to be, nor was she as cool as I once thought. She found out she was pregnant at seventeen, got married, had a total of three children by the time she as 20; She was on her merry way with a new boyfriend by the age of twenty-one, without one child in tow. My brothers were raised by their paternal grandparents. I always found a reason to excuse the fact that she didn't raise us. Being as young as she was, she didn't know any better, right? I actually thought that way until I became pregnant and had my first child at seventeen. My mother was pregnant at the same time. She was thirty-one. Just over two years later, she had another child. It was after this time that I realized that she had no concept of motherhood. To my mother, children are accessories that she discards after she tires of them.

I am lucky enough that I had the desire and the drive to run as far from that tree as possible. I have learned many, many valuable lessons thanks to my mother:

1) I have learned that you will never get anywhere if you spend your life blaming other people for all of your failures.

2)You can not give your children advice if they don't respect you. If you have learned something from a mistake that you would like to pass onto them, do not continue to make that mistake over and over again yourself.

3) Sometimes, through no fault of your own, life hands you lemons. Make lemonade, or get over it. Don't sit and whine. Nothing will change if you whine.

4) Making a mess of your life does not obligate your children to bail you out constantly.

My children are almost grown now. They know how important they are to me . I am also raising my youngest sister, K. She is nineteen days older than my oldest daughter. She is a great kid. For the first twelve years of her life, she lived with our mother and her various boyfriends. The nice ones were discarded in favor of the "bad boys." K saw our mother doing drugs and was nearly homeless several times. She was made to be responsible for our youngest sister, mothering and raising her. At the age of twelve, K decided she'd had enough. The next time I was asked to take the girls "for a few days, until I can figure things out," she said she wasn't going back. She hasn't. (She is amazing and I will do a post on her sometime.)

I will often read advice columns for fun. Most of them advise the people sending in questions to try to reconcile with family members so that there are never regrets. Sometimes however, those relationships are damaged to the point that they are poisonous to those involved. My mother is poison to me. Whenever I have to talk to her about anything deeper than the weather, I am a wreck, and it affects my children and marriage. So, I have made the decision to completely cut her from my life. I will no longer be responsible for her. I will not protect her from the anger and resentment that she has caused her children. I will not allow my life to be turned upside down by her neediness.

And whether I like it or not, I will always love her.


  1. I'm so sorry that you had such a relationship with your mother. I cannot imagine. You and I both had tumultuous beginnings and have come to the same realizations as adults. Grown-up before we wanted to be.

    It's a true pleasure to meet someone like me.

  2. I agree with the fact that people seem to let personal responsibility slide right off of them.
    And I'm sorry to hear about your problems with your mom.

  3. Yours is a moving, triumphant story about a girl with a certain kind of strength and courage and compassion that few of us have.

    I'm so proud to know you ...

    PS--I don't know anybody who can make "lemonade" as well as you either!