Dear Mom: I Still Can't Call You On Mother's Day....or any day

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Truths from the Chaos

Dear Mom, 

I wanted to call you for Mother’s Day.

I think I look forward to the day I can call you again. (Progress.)

I must admit, I wish it didn’t bother me so to think about you being asked the question, “Did you talk to your kids yesterday?” I don’t like knowing you are in such an uncomfortable situation.

Is it………… though, mom?

Uncomfortable? I know you are surrounded by other mothers.

I mean who is NOT a mother right?

Actually…………… I am not a mother.

Here, I am on *this side* of 40, and not a mother.

Given the last three years—what I know now – what I have learned about myself – what I have uncovered about so much - it no longer surprises me that being a mother never made it onto my *Things To Do List*.

Still, I know it must be embarrassing for you, mom.

I remember how you hate to be embarrassed.

To have to hear that question, “Did you talk to your kids yesterday?”

It must hurt like hell to have to say, “No.”

Does it………… though, mom?

Hurt like hell?

Do you dread Mother’s Day?

Maybe my brother called you. We don’t talk to each other so I wouldn’t know if he called you or not.

Do you think it strange that your only two children – just one year apart we all but became unhinged within three months of each other? Or maybe we did...become unhinged.

It’s like our bodies KNEW.  Like a time limit existed on how long the human body and mind could ignore all the *toxic sludge* in our imaginary bucket.

We lived three thousand miles away from each other, mom.  Yet our bodies *broke* within 3 months of each other even though we rarely spoke a word to each other. Birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings – you name it – have come and gone without as much as a phone call to each other.

What is unconditional love mom?

One of my last memories living with you goes like this.

I think we had to give up the house. I don’t know if it was part of the divorce settlement or what. Quite frankly I just don’t remember many of those details after third grade.

We moved into the apartments behind my high school. That means I must have been in ninth grade. Maybe even eighth grade, who knows?

Do you?

Anyway, my point, I was not a little girl. (Perhaps emotionally I was – AM – still the little girl.) When I woke up I needed to see what kind of mood you were in so I would know how my day would go. You were always awake before me and in the upstairs hall bathroom putting on your makeup. I knew your routine.

I waited.

I waited for you to stand in front of the bathroom mirror so I could see your face in the mirror as I walked up from behind you.

You would bend your torso over the sink as you put on your eye make-up. That was what I waited for you to do! That was my queue to start singing, “Baby face… cha-cha-cha-cha. You've got the cutest little baby face…cha-cha-cha-cha. There's not another who can take your place… Baby face…”

I don’t remember when you taught me the words, but the first time I heard you sing the song  I associated it with happiness.

Maybe I crossed my fingers – or not – as I waited for you to do one of two things after you heard me sing.

You either chimed in to sing with me. “Yay! Mom is happy today”!


You abruptly ceased putting on your make-up-- pulled your arm back—and quickly established eye contact with me in the mirror.

There, it was.

The L.O.O.K. …………as if I did something wrong by being happy.

My stomach would drop and a sick feeling took over my being as I slowly backed up and turned to go back into my bedroom. “It is going to be a bad day.”

Did you know your grandchildren cut people off just like you *showed* us to do?

If I were a gambling person, I’d bet a winning lottery ticket that my brother’s children – YOUR grandchildren – then THEIR children – and THEIR children’s children will do the same too. (Children learn what they live, mom.)

Cut people off for years and years.

…exist under the same roof without as much as a, “Good morning”.

Today I am working hard to learn new coping skills. I think it’s fair to say I am learning adult coping skills.  I'd like to be able to call you.

I don’t want Mother’s Day to come and go, and you not hear from me.

I want to learn about unconditional love, mom.

I want to be in the same room with you, mom.

I want to be under the same roof with you, mom.

I want to speak on the phone to you, mom.

I want to learn how to do these things without allowing a *word*, *tone*, *voice inflection*, or *look* to transport me back to second grade again.

See, the moment my mind takes me *back there* I can see myself straddling the commode seat backwards as you *fix* my hair into my signature pony tails.

More often than not you are upset at me because I wet the bed again or you and dad just had a fight.

You should have watched me on those mornings after I realized I wet the bed. 

(Did you?  Were you?)  I tried to look inconspicuous.


In second grade, I had no idea what being inconspicuous looked like let alone the word existed. Today I understand fear drove me to act inconspicuous after my frenzy to hide my wet bed.

My sad little efforts....hurry to the bathroom-grab a wash cloth-run back into my room, Q.U.I.E.T.L.Y. close the door so I could try to soak up the pee. Or speedily strip the sheets--turn them around—remake the bed—get back into bed -act like I was still asleep.

Course I always had to change my pajamas and hide the wet. Sometimes it worked, but more often than not you figured it out. Why was it your job to *catch me*.

Is this what mothers do, mom?

Do mothers tell their young daughters if they wet the bed they will hang their bed sheets on the clothes line for everyone to see?

Yes... a single word... tone...voice inflection, or a look is all it takes to transport me back to those mornings.

My little head was usually always the benefactor of your disappointment, frustration or anger.

I can feel you pull my little head *this way and that* as you aggressively brush my hair into high and tight pony tails.  I will N.E.V.E.R. find humor in the phrase, “Mommy, mommy my pony tails are too tight.”

Do you remember the day the school nurse had to call you to come and pick me up? teacher did not know what else to do.  I refused to lift my head up from my desk. I wanted to though. (Don’t make trouble.)

Try as I might, I could not stop crying. The tears would not stop.  I can still see my little thighs catch the flood of tears.

I can't recall what made me feel worse. Thoughts of you making good on your threat to hang my bed sheets on the clothes line or the shame and embarrassment that consumed every part of my little body as I cried in front of my class mates. I could feel their eyes stare at me.

Second graders are relentless you know. Children can be cruel.

Alas, the feelings are the same, right? ...shame and embarrassment.

Where was my reprieve, mom?

My teacher kneeled down beside me and gently rubbed my back asking me over and over again what was wrong. She asked me to please, lift my head.

I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t know that I ever thought to tell her that my mom just beat the fuck out of my head with a hair brush.

Thing is I don’t recall that I cried from the hair brush or your threat to hang my sheets on the clothes line so that neighbors and all the kids on the school bus could see that I wet the bed AGAIN.

(Did you know second graders are relentless, mom? Children can be cruel.)

I truly don’t think that is why I cried. Something inside me hurt, and tears were my only release. I hate these memories so vivid in my mind.

Today I thank God I am not a mother.

Because I know as sure as I am your daughter I, too, would sit by the phone on Mother’s Day W.A.I.T.I.N.G. to see if my children would call.

Course the day would come and go….like it does for you.

The phone would never ring. Then I’d probably dodge (hide) from my friends who are mothers so I would not have to hear the question;

“Did you talk to your kids yesterday?”

The Scorpion and the Frog fable come to mind when I think about my relationship with you, mom. You know the one; the scorpion convinces the frog to carry him across the river and promises not to sting him but does so midway across the river which dooms both their fates. The scorpion explains that this is its nature.

The fable is used to illustrate the position that the behavior of some creatures is irrepressible, no matter how they are treated and no matter what the consequences. In this example, I am the scorpion in real life mom.

I am drawn to you because you carried me in your womb for nine months.  You gave birth to me. It is innate within me. (in•nate adj)

In one of my online searches innate is defined as; 1) Possessed at birth; inborn. 2) Possessed as an essential characteristic; inherent.3) Of or produced by the mind rather than learned through experience...translated.... matter how you have treated me through the years, and no matter how much heartache and pain I have suffered I have picked up the phone time and time again to try to have a relationship with you because you bore me. 

I wish I would have thought to look up the word innate (in•nate adj) years ago. Hell, for a good part of my life, I just assumed I was sadistic every time I picked up the phone to call you.

Today I know I simply learned what I lived. It’s normal to do that.

Do you think it ironic this hung in our hall bathroom;  *Children Learn what They Live*

Did you ever read it, mom?

Today I am working hard to REWIND - REVISIT - REPLAY -  REFRAME the past so that I might be able to call you again.

...anyway. yes. today I am learning new coping skills.

Adult coping skills, because I want to call you.

I don’t want another Mother’s Day to come and go, and you not hear from me.



Your daughter~

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