From My Childhood

I wound up at a formal dinner tonight. That wasn’t my intent. I had planned on steak and laying on the couch, and then plans changed as they seem to often do in Victoria. (See: trip to storage locker).

I was sitting there, eating my meal and making polite conversation, my thoughts turned to my mother.

We are still estranged. I will say honestly, at least here, that this is actually fine. I miss the nice person that was sometimes my mother, and I don’t miss what mental illness made her become. I don’t miss the meanness, the pettiness, the hurtfulness. I don’t miss the calculated strikes, the lies, the misery.

Still, as I looked at the sugar free licorice last weekend; and I separated out when she returned her Christmas presents to me last year with a note that I must have given her random things I kept handy, instead of the carefully chosen gifts they were: it felt strange to look at the sugar free licorice and not buy it. It felt strange to send Christmas cards and realize that I don’t have an address to send one to my mother. I could find an address, but that isn’t the point..

Moving away from the diversion, I found myself invited to a formal dinner, armed with only my wits and my manners. With all of the guys, eating dinner. And as I navigated through the multiple courses and forks, through the wines into the dessert course, I found myself thankful for a singular part of my upbringing. Seated between clients and colleagues, I realized:

I can eat a proper meal. I don’t freak when a gentleman pushes in my chair, I know to put my napkin on my lap, and I know which fork to use. I know how to excuse myself from the table, where to put my cutlery and how to eat without embarrassing myself.

There are oh so many things about my childhood I might change. There are oh so many things that I wish had been different, times when I wish my mother had been other than she was. But, as I sat at that table, I found myself thinking, she did this right. And I am thankful.

This entry was posted in The language of families. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to From My Childhood

  1. a says:

    I think that’s one of the more important signs of maturity. You’re able to see the good parts of people, even when the intolerable parts make it impossible for you to associate with them. And you realize that it’s OK to love the parts that are loveable without having to accept the parts that are unacceptable.

    I hope that someday you can have a relationship with your mother that is healthy and good for you.

  2. Jana says:

    I, too, see it as a sign of maturity.

    I so get this…I have “proper” manners, too from my semi-estranged mother.

  3. debby says:

    My mother and I were estranged. It’s a painful thing, but it was right for me. It was also right for her, although she would never admit it. It certainly gave her one less thing to be mad about. I discovered that she was plenty mad, anyway. I learned from that. It was not MY fault. I had always been told it was.

  4. Linds says:

    I do this too – try to think and remember some good things. Sometimes it’s hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *