Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

2012 May 13

It's Mother's Day. Not one of my favorite pretend holidays. My own Mom died in 1976, of lung cancer. I was 26 years old, and the oldest of eight kids. The youngest, Jimmy, was only 5 when Mummy died. 

When R and I married, we assumed we would have children. But that was not to be.

R's Mom was very much alive for many years, so I suppose I had a surrogate Mom in Adelaide. Unfortunately, because I still bore so much anger toward my own Mom, it wasn't until much later in our relationship, that Adelaide and I became close. 

I've had other surrogate mom people in my life over the years: Pauline, who was my neighbor for 20+ years; Marlene, who is probably my age, or younger, but has such a warm, maternal spirit, that when I met her she just seemed like "Mom".

But Mother's Day, in general, makes me sad. Sad for what could've been, both with my own Mom, and in my life. 

My Mom was adopted in 1927, when she was 6 months old. Her name at adoption was Virginia ___________. All I know of her birth name is that it began with a "B" and that according to my paternal grandmother, it sounded Lithuanian. My mom was dark haired, dark eyed and had a slightly olive complexion. And although she spoke of being adopted sometimes, I don't think she ever really shared how deeply she longed to belong and to have something that was hers, except with her close friend, AnnaMae, and with my Dad.

Whatever her origins, she was born at Rosalia Foundling Home, that much she shared. She supposed that her own birth mother was a young, unwed woman. Beyond that, she shared nothing. 

Whether her insecurities or her genetics, or some combination of the two were the cause, my Mum was a sad, depressed woman, coming into her own in a time of repression. The 40s & 50s were not the time when one analyzed ones feelings, and sought treatment for such ailments. 

She and my Dad managed to produce eight kids. Not very long ago, a family friend told me that my Mom once shared with her that the happiest times in her life were when she was pregnant. No wonder she got pregnant so often. I often wish that she had lived longer. Mostly for selfish reasons, but also because, the times are different now and maybe she could've been treated and actually had some degree of peace and happiness with medication to balance whatever imbalances were part of her makeup.

And, I wonder how she would've counseled me when I faced my own crisis of depression and infertility. 

Years of therapy helped me to dispose of my anger toward my Mom for what I viewed as her shortcomings. Now, I am simply sorry that none of the good Christians who were among her in-laws and in her own adoptive family, reached out to help her. Instead, too often, they criticized her and behind her back and in front of her children, made her out to be the bad guy.

I am sorry for the scars inflicted upon her by the community and times in which she lived, and by her on some of her own kids. Families are complex organisms and even more complicated when some form of mental illness is present. 

Mom, Happy Mother's Day.

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