… and I become the mother of a tween.
Let me just say this: Holy Fucking Shit Balls, Mina — you’re EIGHT YEARS OLD.
I have a kid that plays on her DS and grunts at me when I ask her a question…
When the hell did that happen?!
One minute, I am writing all these cute little birthday letters, as a record of all the cute little things you say, with a faint idea that you might be interested in them at some point in the very-distant-future. The next, I hear you announce from the other room that you have stumbled across my blog archives and want to know why I called you a “devil” in your 6th birthday blog post… and given the levels of profanity in all my other entries, I do believe I got off pretty light. And you think I am bad? Well, let me introduce you to that time your Dad had a Sexpo robot cum on his face.
And frankly, sweetie, if you have to ask who the Pixies are, you simply must consult your school library or risk being disowned. They are way better than Hannah Montana and P!nk put together. And before you say anything, yes, that *is* possible.
So, anyway, you’re eight. I remember being eight. Which means that you will remember being eight… and I have to say that that makes me very nervous.
It occured to me recently that I am the same age that my mother was when I decided to leave her to go and live with my Dad. I still remember the months leading up to it: a pretty nasty separation & divorce (resulting in family rifts); a stepfather I despised (and who despised me back because, you know, I had committed the crime of being an intelligent female with -gasp- opinions); and a pretty much irrevocably damaged relationship with my mother.
I am sure that as time goes on you’ll ask more questions about why you don’t see her — and — well — honestly? It’s really not from a lack of effort on my part. The reason you have only seen her 3 times in your whole life so far is pretty much for the same reason that I never heard from her. It’s same reason why she has never come to visit me, even when I was in a coma & fighting a near-fatal infection.
Because… well… truthfully? I have no fucking idea.
I have spent the better part of 20 years trying to figure out and articulate the relationship I have with my own mother… and who knows, by the time you get to read this properly I may have found some sort of resolution, or explanation as to why I rank somewhere in the range of 50th, behind her husband, his children, my siblings, horses, dogs, chickens, hay, fishing and water.
Please don’t get me started on coming second to farm animals.
I was actually hoping that the passage of time would help explain it — that somehow as my own daughter grew up and I got older and more enlightened that I would begin to understand why she rejected me the way she has. That in my infinite desire to give her the benefit of the doubt, I would suddenly realise that it’s not as straightforward as I thought it was.
But you know what? As you get older, and I look at you, and I see you with that same spark that they tried to extinguish — as I watch you grow into someone who, let’s admit it, occasionally drives me FUCKING BONKERS with the attitude and the “too-cleverness” that is “oh so Téa in 1987” — I don’t understand it more. In fact, if anything, I understand it less. And the reason that I understand it less, is because despite the occasional tantrum, or the rampant wanting-of-plastic-consumer-crap, or the frequent proclamations on Facebook that I am willing to sell you in exchange for a cow dowry like they did in the old days — you know what?
The thought of my baby girl EVER feeling rejection, or hurt, or ever having any confusion as to whether I care enough puts a pain in the pit of my stomach that is indescribable. The thought of letting you down in some way terrifies me. And no, I am not talking about the normal ups and downs where I say “no you can’t have icecream for breakfast” and you scream at me how-unfair-I-am-and-I-ruined-your-life-and-OMG-noone-understands-me-and-would-you-PLEASE-stop-laughing-at-me-because-I-am-crying tanties that every 8 year old has with her parents.
I am talking about genuine doubt about whether your mother even wanted you in the first place. It’s not a fun realisation, let me tell you.
So how does this relate to your birthday? Well, first of all, seeing you grow up to be like me, feels in some ways like I get to make things right. When I sit there quietly, without you knowing I can see you, watching you dance around your room, or making up songs in the backyard — or writing in your diary — or whatever — I see it as my chance to not try and crush that spirit, but to try and encourage it. It’s a chance for me to nurture your sense of humour and irony.
It’s laughing when you lovingly call me “fuckface” — and not trying to force cayenne pepper down your throat as punishment for speaking (and testing boundaries!).
It’s about making you feel like you matter. And that even though I might be busy most of the time — when it really matters, I will drop everything to be there for you. And making you aware every single day that you have a mother who loves you.
And this is the bit where you “awwww”and hang merciless amounts of shit on me for being all publicly deep & sentimental — because I would have raised you that way and would expect nothing less.
It wouldn’t be a birthday post without me mentioning some kind of disaster involving a cake. Although, as disasters go, this was by far the least spectaculr (at least, in comparison to the cupcakes and the goatse — and well just about every other cake disaster…).
You said you wanted a pink ice-cream cake and me being the meticulous in-advance-planner that I am, went to get one on the day of your birthday. Well, they only had green Freddo ones, so guess what… I decided to put a carton of ice-cream into a bowl, upturn it & decorate it. Not my worst effort (although Dad did feel the need to point out to me that I could have gone to Wendy’s and bought an ice-cream cake AFTER THE FACT…. Cunt):
You know, I try my best.
OK, I suck.
But I love ya.