My Mother’s greatest gift is one that I never wanted.
If you know my family, you know that my mom and dad adopted my sisters and me when we were young. You probably know that she worked two jobs to send two of us to private school so that we could have the opportunity to do great things. You probably know her as the woman who raised three “defiant daughters” alone and that the Kennedy Girls never wanted for anything. You may also know, according to her, that we were ungrateful. That we treated her badly and disappointed her beyond belief. I’m sure that you have heard the stories- all of them.
My Mother’s greatest gift is one that I never needed.
But what you may not know is that the emotional scars of having her as a mom run deep.
You may not know that she and I have not spoken in years because I have had to cut off all contact in order to save my life.
You may not know that the lies that she told about me and my husband and family caused us great pain.
You may not know that she verbally abused me for years calling me names such as “heifer,” “whore,” “slut,” and more.
You may not know the she called my friend’s parents and accused me of sleeping with random boys when I was supposed to spending the night with them despite the fact that I was there, in their homes.
You may not know that she beat me when she felt that my behavior was in violation of her rules. She stormed into my school and embarrassed me in front of my friends because I was failing Science simply because, “I was being lazy.”
My Mother’s greatest gift is one that I will never give.
She kicked me out of the house numerous times between 9th and 12th grade. She locked me out of the house when I was late from school. She accused me of lying about being sexually assaulted- and if not lying, she said that I was “asking for it because I was always messing around with boys.”
You don’t know that she has used financial abuse to control me- refusing to give me money, pay for school, or buy me clothes, if I did not do what she wanted.
You don’t know that she failed to pay my tuition when I committed some offense to her. Those offenses were as simple as having boys in my room when she called me.
You don’t know that she drove a wedge so deep and wide between us siblings that I feel very much like an only child.
You don’t know that my mom chose a favorite and made us very aware of who that favorite was every day. That she used the money our father left us to pay for that favorite’s wedding- a wedding that I was told I could not be in because I wasn’t pretty enough.
Maybe you were unaware of how she left me alone in Las Vegas, broke, and in pain after my husband and I lost our daughter Samantha at 19 weeks pregnant, on what would have been our wedding day.
There is so much that you don’t know.
But here is what you NEED to know
I am a good mom because my mom gave me the greatest gift. She gave me the gift of understanding. Of knowledge. In spite of her abuse, I learned to love. I learned to respect myself. I learned the importance of empathy, compassion, listening, trusting, and loving- especially those who you bring into my life. I learned what NOT to do and to remember that WORDS HAVE POWER.
So you see, I am grateful. I am grateful to her for providing me with a map of where not to go and what to avoid. And I am proud of myself for knowing that ending my relationship with her was the best thing that I could do for my daughter.
Happy Mother’s Day!