May 10, 2014

The Day My Mom Was Supportive

Mother/daughter relationships are fraught with emotion. There's so much riding on them.
I wish I could say my mom and I were close but our relationship was difficult, from the time I was a teenager until the day she died. We tried. Some. We talked about it when I was an adult; why we misunderstood each other, why we took things the wrong way. We made an effort to understand what we needed from each other, but were never able to figure it out in a way that would smooth our road. We were oil and water.
As I look back now I'm sure she was proud of me and my accomplishments, but she never said it and I never felt it. I didn't feel support or encouragement from her. It seemed to me that nothing I did was good enough. Possibly she felt the same about me.
After high school I went to the University of Toledo part time, paying for it with money I earned working at Bargain City and money I borrowed from my aunt. My parents didn't have a lot of money - I'm sure they had no idea how they'd come up with the funds to send me to college. I talked to my dad about college during my senior year of high school and he put me off, said, "We'll talk about it later," and I was always the kind of kid (and adult) who thought, "Well, fuck you then...I'll do it myself."
I majored in theater and fantasized being an actor. I pretty much sucked at it, though.
So I quit school and got a full time job at a trucking company. I know you're envious but it wasn't as glamorous as it sounds, tho there was a really cute guy who worked on the loading dock.
So by then I was twenty, still living at home, still clashing with my mother, dying to escape, wanting more of life than trucking. I knew what I wanted wasn't in Toledo, and, truly, getting away from my mom was a major motivator so I decided to move to Cleveland.
Being that I was a daddy's girl it came as no surprise when he tried to talk me out of it. He was afraid for me, thought I was too young to be living in the "big city" on my own. He offered me a car if I'd stay home (an old, used one). I passed on that.
And then I told my mom, sure she'd think it was a stupid idea - not that it mattered. I didn't really care what she thought.
Imagine my shock when she said, "Good for you!" She told me she'd wanted to do that when she was my age and never had the opportunity - girls didn't do that kind of thing then. She said, "I think it's great," and offered me sheets and towels for my apartment.
It's a powerful memory. It's the one time in my life I remember her being supportive and encouraging, and it always brings a tear to my eye. It makes me wish I'd tried a little harder to learn who she was as a person, not just as the mom who was a pain in my ass.
For a time I was aggrieved that I didn't have a June Cleaver kind of mom, but I gave that up long ago. She may not have been the mom I wished for but at some point I understood she did the best she knew how to do.


Chris Cacciatore said...

Great post.

Lisa Garsh said...

That was a great post and love your picture of your mom...looks like my grandma...oh but of course she was grandmas

Scarletgrey said...

Sisknowsome post! I didn't know about that. You"re right about Dad too. He wouldn't let me move out to share an apartment with Carol Beldin excuse being she's not Jewish and I was too afraid to go against him. I too thought I couldn't do anything right in her eyes. Had a hard time talking to her. I eas so jealous of you being able to move to Cleveland and away. Wonder what would have happened if I had moved out. Would I have not married David? They did not like him snd of course now I see why.

Scarletgrey said...

My first sentence was supposed to say: Sis awesome post!