October 4, 2012

A Full Circle

Winter rose from the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley, 2012.

I spent my entire childhood afraid of my mother and always looking for her approval.   Then I grew up into a drunk just like my mother.  With two children of my own, I over compensated about my own mother’s strict Victorian rules.  You must go to school.  That was one of mother’s few rules that I stuck to. 

Years later, one lunch over drinks in the cool of Humphrey’s green and white dining room, I asked her why she had been so strict.

“I thought I was going to die of colon cancer, and I felt that I had to make you independent,” she told me.

For a while, I dreamed of having a mother/daughter relationship with my angry, youngest child.  Those picture perfect moments never appeared.  My oldest was too stoned and drunk herself to see me other than angrily.  Slowly my hopes changed, and I began living as the best example I could of being clean and sober…for myself.  I had years of practice at this before my oldest got sober, forgave me, let go of her anger, and saw me as who I am now.

It took me years of sobriety to be able to see that my angry mother did the best she could as a mother with who she was.

Now my youngest is angry at me.  


  1. I haven't got the answer. I have a sister (next in line to me) who has cut herself off from the other 3 of us ~ and she lives just 90 miles away from me. It kills me to know that she will have no one in her life if her husband dies before her...but no matter how I have tried over the years ~she won't do anything about it.

  2. As always, your roses are wonderful. And I'm sorry to hear about your youngest. In time, perhaps she will come to appreciate you. I hope so.

  3. I have a hard time forgiving my parents for their harsh treatment of me. I guess I'll die hating them.

  4. I love that rose!

    A mother doesn't have to be a drunk to scare her kid that way. I was always afraid of mine.

    After thirty-five years or so, we had a sort of truce. It doesn't mean I know the answers.

  5. We got mad at our mothers because they were crazy, or selfish, or drunk, or absent or sick or weak or strong or quiet or loud. We expected our mothers to help us before they secured their own oxgen masks.

  6. Oh, this makes me sad. But we can't demand forgiveness. I know you know this, and you have done so much to make a good life as you have been able. It takes a long time for children to see their parents as human rather than the fantasy person named "Mother". She will come to that point someday hopefully. Forgive yourself. That's the only thing in your power.

  7. Things are not always comfortable or giddily happy here, but clarity and peace began to grow once I learned and accepted that I could not control anyone's behavior except my own. And controlling my own actions, attitudes and words was impossible without outside help. For me that help was God.

    Your wisdom, courage and perseverance are inspiring. And so is your skill with a camera. I hope my laptop doesn't crash from my drooling over those roses.

  8. Being a parent is just the hardest profession there is. I told my son I was sorry we had to be so strict about some things and he said, "You did the best you could with what you knew." And that's true for all of us.


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