Nobody loves you like…

I’ve been running around a lot lately. Mexico, North Carolina, DC, plus the new job, my own freelance, and the wedding stuff. Yesterday my new boss and I drove to Rock Tavern, NY for a 1-day shoot from which I have just now returned. I’m exhausted. And my mother is worried about me.

The danger times with my mom are right after dinner, while she’s doing dishes (one night, as I was finishing my glass of wine, she chose Doing Dishes as the moment to inquire pointedly about B!’s family values), and right before bed, when she’ll come into my room to say goodnight. Conversations with my mother, while welcomed without question, are often personally difficult in a way that’s hard for me to reconcile. When I talked to my shrink about this, she suggested that I simply “not engage”, which is kind of like “not engaging” with a speeding bullet, or a slow-moving train while you’re strapped to the tracks. Engagement is a must. She’s my mother.

Anyway, so she comes into my room the other night smelling powdery and fresh, she gives me a hug, and tells me that I need to take care of myself. OK, I say, since it seems reasonable. No, I mean it, she says, her eyes boring holes in my soul. OK, I say again, trying to look sincere. I have a vested interest in taking care of myself, actually, and I think that I’m doing as good a job of it as I can. I take my meds, I see my psychiatrist, and, for the most part, my self-destructive behaviors have ceased. I think I’m doing a good job.

I mean it, she says. Really. Don’t let him push you like your old boss did.

And in that moment, I am undone. I try so hard, I think, so hard to be well, I try so hard to keep busy and move forward and do everything right. I try so hard to be good. Nobody pushes me but myself, and I’m always trying to push my way into her favor… and now, again, it feels like it’s not enough. We spend our lives trying to please our mothers, through no fault of their own. We want their approval, their love, their respect. It was this unending quest, in part, that landed me in the hospital, just as much as it fueled my recovery. My mother is my alpha and omega, my albatross and my salvation. It’s a sword, no two ways about it, and the edge is razor-sharp. I am about to cry, I want to regress, I want to make things explode.

I’m still going to China, if he asks me, I quip, trying to lighten the mood.

She gives me a look. I mean it, she says.

OK, I say. OK. I embrace her, a sign of peace. I love you, I say.

I don’t love you, she replies, and pats me on the back.

I know it was a joke, I know it wasn’t meant to be real. I know this and it helps, but her words echo louder than knowledge can quell. Today I should be writing about my shoot, my work, my triumphant return to the field, and that was my intent, honestly, but here’s how it’s ended. We love our mothers and our mothers love us, but there’s so much capacity for hurt when the love runs so deep. It’s a wonder that any of us survive.

5 Responses to Nobody loves you like…

  1. TBA says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I feel the same way about my relationship with my mom. Those last two lines are dead-on.

    Like

  2. So says:

    This resonates so strongly…brilliantly said.

    Like

  3. Caryl Leeds says:

    As always, enjoy reading your blogs and miss you. I have two things to say, one is your mother will not always be here with you on this planet – enjoy her while you can (I had a difficult relationship with my mom who passed away 6 years ago and I would give my right arm to spend ten minutes with her. Two is maybe not all that she is saying take to heart but there is a message to her talking to you – and she is your mother, she loves you, worried about you, and wants ultimately the best for you.

    But you don’t get a cookie for being a good girl πŸ˜‰

    Love, Caryl

    Like

  4. Carissa says:

    My mom’s the same way. She means well but sheesh. The comments need to stop! Here’s to the moms we love always but at times, don’t really like so much.

    Like

  5. LC says:

    No ones comments can take me to my knees like the ones that come from my mom. And they are often without malice. Love does run deep, deep enough to drown us. It is a wonder how we survive aside from seeking out solid life preserver. Keep your chin up, it sounds like you moments of light far outweigh the dark.

    Like

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