Off The Beaten Path

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Georgia, United States
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.

Friday, July 25


I don't think Fridays have quite the same significance when you aren't working and your kids aren't in school. It is just another day, but it is at least a day when the bank if open a bit later. I got a birthday present from my Mom, and have yet to get it to the bank. She likes me to deposit my check right away. Not exactly sure why, but she does, so I try to oblige. She also called me on my birthday. This might not seem unusual or odd, but it is for the mere fact that she has not initiated a phone call in about 15 years. I am always the one who calls her. So I was very surprised when it was my Mom on the phone. She wanted to know how I have been, but I am very reluctant to go into my medical problems to a woman who has been suffering from one type of cancer or the other for the last 30 years without complaining. So I just tell her, "I am fine." And she lets it go at that and so do I. My Mom is now something like 92 or 93, and I realize that she will not be around for very many more years. My relationship with my Mom has been maddening, aggravating, down right sad at times. But she is my Mom and I love her. Although we don't usually express that in words. I suppose it might be a bit impossible for you to believe that in my whole life I do not remember my Mother every hugging me or telling me that she loves me. It isn't that she doesn't, I know that she does, the problem in my family is the ability to actually show affection. For some reason it was always looked down on, I remember my Grandma, and I loved her dearly, I was not able to give her a hug or a kiss. If you tried she would stiffen up like a board and get totally embarrassed. People who married into this family of ours have successfully succeeded in changing their individual spouses through patience and understanding and never giving up. I remember Aunt Judy and Uncle Dave, they were very affectionate. But I remember Aunt Judy telling me that the first time she hugged and kissed Uncle Dave he told her it was the first hug he had ever had. Same with Aunt Betty and Uncle By, they also grew affectionate over time. But in my Mom's case it didn't quite work so well. Mostly because Grandma lived with her and was always there giving her the eagle eye and tsk tsk tsking if she saw even the tiniest bit of overt affection being shown. Mom told me late in her life, imagine trying to be a newly married person with Grandma there giving you those looks if you so much as held hands.

I grew up in this household of cold and undemonstrative people. I played with my teddy bear, dressed it and pretended it was a baby, and gave it all kinds of hugs. And made up my mind I was going to marry early, have lots of kids and give them tons of hugs and kisses. And I did. But roots run deep, and the way we are raised overshadows every aspect of your life. I have had my moments with certain people when I could easily show affection. But only a few certain ones, and I often analyze what it was about them that made it easy for me to be a caring, affectionate person. Babies are easy, the full grown humans, well that is a different story. I think one of the aspects for giving love and affection is trust. You have to be able to trust that person to not shatter a giving heart. Think about it, who do you trust enough to be a totally open person, and what if you give and all they do is take? Everything in life must have balance and love is a two way street isn't it.

In Mom's family since they can't express love in so many words, they do it with food. I have no idea what my Mom is going to do now that I can't eat any of the goodies that she fixes. Well maybe that is why I got a phone call after so many years.....I know how difficult that phone call was for her to make. You would have to know my Mom to understand.

3 comments: said...

OC is used to there being "rules" for affection -- certain times when hugs, kisses and cuddles are allowed, and certain times when they are not. Affection has been doled out in such short supply in his life that he is like a sponge now. He absorbs affection like thirsty plants soak up water.

I have seen this -- teaching school -- time and time again in children. Often young girls who lack physical nurturing in childhood, end up making horrendous mistakes with the first male that shows them any hint of affection.

Nea said...

I know that a lot of the problems that I have had in my life with relationships has been my crazy upbringing, but do I blame my parents.....No, I guess I don't really. They were a product of the way they were brought up. Mom would have liked to have been different, we have had talks about it, now that she is older, and she has told me that she is sorry that she couldn't have been more affectionate, she wanted to be she just couldn't it embarrassed her to much. It is like making a phone call, I have watched her agonize over picking up the phone to call someone, and finally she just gives up. It is a matter of confidence, being confindent enough that the person on the receiving end will respond supportively. Imagine going to someone and trying to hug them and having them shrug you off. Mom says she remembers Uncle Dave trying to give Grandma (his Mom a hug) when he was five, and her reactions, he never did it again.

It makes it hard for us to be the initiator.

And yes, when you find someone who actually wants your affection, well you make some bad mistakes at times.......just out of sheer need.

The Old Fart said...

Nea ~ It may be too late to change your Mum, but I know deep in her heart she loves you. And I am sure you are showing your children all the love they want.