I had a big fight with my mother this weekend, over the phone (which sucks), with both of us ending up in tears (which double sucks). Making your mother cry doesn't do anyone any favors, but my mother truly is the nicest, most accomodating person you will ever meet. Those of you that have met her know this. And I made her cry. I am an evil, horrible daughter. The fight was stupid and I picked it when I should have just let the issue go. But every once in a while I get fed up and I have to open my big mouth rather than having perspective on the given situation.
It doesn't matter who your parents are, or how much you love them, how much they love you--sometimes there are going to be differences of opinion. But I think I realized this weekend for the first time that I have the ability to wound my mother. I've probably had the ability for a long time, but I think I really realized it on Saturday.
It is a long stupid story but essentially I accused her of choosing my brother over me, when the choice comes up. And I do think that both my parents lean that way. But maybe I'm biased. Because he lives close to my parents, and my father works with my brother every day, it is easy for me to see myself as the Sunday child, the one they see sometimes, maybe once a month. The one they talk to maybe once a week, rather than ten times a day. And when I do talk to them, or see them, it is like we haven't seen each other in months. The first hour or two I'm with them they seem to vomit all the information they've kept stored up. So it isn't that I don't think they love me. Or even that they want to see me. It's just that I'm outside of their daily lives. In some ways I feel I've always been.
My brother and I are both adopted. Recently I searched for and found my birth mother, only to discover that aside from rosacea and a passing resemblance around the eyes, we have little else in common. For reasons I won't go into, I decided it was not a relationship that I wanted to pursue. The thing I took from that experience was that I am me, and I've made myself. I am parts of the parents who raised me--values, beliefs. I am less of the person who gave birth to me, same eyes, some similar medical history. I'm just me. I don't get my love of books from either mother. I don't get my passion for food, my love of travel, my smile, my freckles from anyone. They are my own. You would think that knowledge would be freeing--and it is, to some extent. But it also makes me sad. It makes me feel alone.
Sometimes, a lot of times, actually, I feel I have only just found the family of my heart, in my Mr. Bump's family. The thirst for knowledge, the breadth of interests, the sense of humor, the love of travel are the same. But even though I know all the stories about Mr. Bump's childhood and his family tree, they are just stories to me. And to have such intimacy with my husband's family causes a disconnect between me and my family, my parents and my brother. I have stories that no one I'm with remembers, because I'm not with my family. I'm with Mr. Bump's family once a week, often more than that, and so it is natural that that bond is reinforced. I see my family once a month, and we spend so much time catching up on each other's lives we have little time to reminisce about the past, about what makes up our family tree. And then there is the fact that my tree has been grafted to this family tree. Not that I feel like my parents loved me any differently or less because I was adopted--in fact, they probably loved me more. The grip was so tight for so long that I physically feel its absence since we see each other so much less.
I suspect that my mother knows I enjoy the time I spend with my mother-in-law. I suspect she is jealous and wounded about it, but she would never say that to me. Because whatever makes me happy makes her happy. And that's just what she wants more than anything--that her babies are happy. And so this is what I blunder into with my too-blunt and frankly mean accusation that she plays favorites. That she's been feeling like she's lost me to the Bumps, and here I am saying that she chooses my brother over me. So who can blame her for crying?
And so I'm very sorry that I made her cry. I'm sorry this is less funny and more personal than you may want. I'm sorry for a lot of things lately.
You'll be happy to know that after running some errands and cooling off (all the while feeling like a poopy-head) I called my mother and apologized profusely. Of course, so did she. That's the kind of mom she is.