Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

I was in FL for a week visiting my 80 year old super Mom! I also had a wonderful and relaxing trip away from home and recent bad news about my health. We spent tons of time in and around the water and beach. We ate well (Mom's been a vegetarian for 20 years) and healthfully. She treated me as a goddess and honored guest.
No one believes we are related because my mom lies UP about her weight. She's 5'2" and weighs under 100 pounds. Like my tall, slender daughter, she's also hyper metabolic and burns calories like paper. Mom's done a triathlon, does hot yoga and swims competitively in Master's meets. She holds a couple of national records. Small but mighty. I went to see her because I missed her but also for a very special reason... to celebrate her accomplishment of which I am most proud.
I am built more like my Daddy who was two hundred and too many pounds. Although I have inherited his sweetness, his RA, fibro, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, & CIDP, I am intellectually far more like my extroverted, stubborn, often brilliant, funny, curiosity driven mom. I lack her fiery Irish temper and fortunately also lack the predisposition to alcoholism and drug addiction.
My mom and I weren't always close. She was drinking heavily by the time I was old enough to be aware of things like that. She was angry - a brilliant woman who married too early (at 19), had her first child at 20, and who had a sick husband by age 24. She didn't get to start to realize her dreams until she'd had 4 kids and the oldest was in high school. She worked all of her adult life until she went to college when my older brother was 15 and I was 12. To go back to school, she had to fight my Dad who was busy starting his own very successful printing company. She also needed help at home, which fell to me. I'd been cooking and helping out since her hysterectomy when I was 9...Daddy made the mistake of telling her I was a better cook than she, so she quit. But for her to go back to college with a traditional husband a 4 kids required a servant. My brothers, sister and I referred to me as "the family slave".
That kind of responsibility created who I am and I love who I am, but at ages 10-18, no one wants to carry a whole family on their back for a drunken, ungrateful witch. I did it for love of my siblings and their welfare but to say I harbored some anger toward my Mom would be an understatement. Especially since she was also a constant embarrassment, drunk and spouting militant feminism while enslaving her oldest GIRL child. But I always did love her. I was proud when she graduated magna cum laude, top of her class. But the drinking...she was mean, angry, impossible to please and I was in her direct line of fire. I should have received the Marie Antoinette award: I stuck my neck out countless times to deflect her anger from the younger siblings.
When I went to college, I abandoned my younger siblings to her. It was a hard choice but I figured I neede to save myself and avoid incarceration for murdering my mom. However, the price was gruesome: my little sister withdrew into a shell and my little brother became a drug addict. I know it wasn't my fault but since I had coparented them, I felt responsible and was angrier than ever with my mom.
Fast forward...I graduated college and married; I became a high powered career professional. I tolerated Mom. Little brother became lost in cocaine and Mom's fiery temper caused incidents that should have landed her in jail or the insane asylum - except for daddy's protection. She and little brother had a fierce argument about his drug abuse and he told her to butt out - that she needed to look in the mirror before jumping on him - that she was a drunk and that really wasn't too different from being a druggie.
The next day, my mom went to her first AA meeting. She never faltered, never fell and used her indomitable will to stay sober. At age 50, my mom did something that few people can do - she changed. By changing her behaviors, she proved to me that she was sorry for the past. By changing her behavior, she made amends. Over the years, I fell in love with her. Even better, I learned to respect her. We became friends, close friends, best friends. Even through the terrible years when her beloved husband and my precious father disappeared piece by piece from strokes that impaired him, then destroyed him, Mom stayed sober. All of us stood by him and when the cost of caring for him was too high for my mother, we children united, placing him in a home to avoid losing both of them.
Last week I was in Florida to see my mom. We created more wonderful memories on the beach, in the ocean, sleeping in her king sized bed and whispering family stories until we fell asleep. But the best time we had, the real reason I was there was for Wednesday night. On Wednesday night, I stood in front of a big room of people and paid tribute to my mom. I spoke about her brilliant mind, her kind heart, her indomitable will and about her ability to change herself, our relationship, our family and the future of our family. I thanked her for being a perfect example that change - major change is possible. I told her that I loved her with all of my heart, and with some tears involuntarily leaking down my cheeks, I hugged my mom tight, kissed her and gave her the token that she had earned by being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 30, yes, 30 years.
Change, great change, is possible. It may not be fast or easy but my mom proved it's possible to conquer the most fearful demon and reclaim the life we are meant to have. That's what we're all doing here at Spark People. We're creating changes, both small and monumental. Mom's one day of sobriety was a baby step but her 10,958 days of change altered many, many lives, gifting her with healthy relationships with her children, grand children, and great grand children and giving us the mother we always wanted and needed. So, what do you commit to change? What will you use to springboard your success? You can do it and I know you will do it!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Such a brilliant testimony of love and resilience. While my own wasn't a drinker (just viciously angry... still is), I share your pain: "I should have received the Marie Antoinette award: I stuck my neck out countless times to deflect her anger from the younger siblings." ...And I SO envy you the healing, reconciliation and relationship you managed to forge together beyond the pain! Thank you for sharing this!

    {{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}}
    3307 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8603687
    I need some tissue,your blog hit my emotional button and now tears emoticon What a beautiful heart warming and felt blog,so awesome and for your Mom to do a 3/60 and make these kind of changes for the betterment of herself and her loved ones.She is one amazing and one to admire and idolize,that must have been so hard to do and take an amazing amount of strength.I have enjoyed reading this Martha! emoticon Diana
    3330 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/6/2012 7:36:35 PM
  • no profile photo CD10163029
    emoticon emoticon emoticon catching up with friends, thank you for sharing your story & tribute of triumph for your mom... (hugs)
    3332 days ago
    My darling your blog made me cry!My own mother had a fiery temper that I inherited!At age 48 I changed my own attitude.She was a drug addict most of her life and was found with 68 bottles of RX pain killers of different sorts when she passed away.I was oblivious to that fact.I am most like her out of my other 4 siblings so,I take the least amount of meds possible.Thank You for this blog,It left me feeling like I was there witnessing the whole thing....You are so awesome.. emoticon SUSAN
    3333 days ago
    Beautiful blog, I am crying after reading this. Touches me in many personal ways.
    3333 days ago
    WELCOME HOME Martha hon !! WELCOME HOME Sweetie !! TY so much for sharing with us what ur background is. Not being close to my Mom when growing up, than was in adulthood, I know the DEEP TREASURE you HAVE FOUND hon, though for different reasons, and urs WAY MORE PRECIOUS !!! THough the feelings much the same. I am SO GOLLY PROUD OF YOU !! its NOT EASY being the oldest girl !!! The anger it causes ! Again so PROUD OF YOU for ALL the WORK YOU had to do ! AND YOU DID IT Martha ! NOT just ur Mom for she had HELP in AA (I know I've been sober since 2000 and we GET A LOT OF support to do to the work, but unless the fam joins Oh man,,, I've forgotten the thing its called for family/friends etc suppport,,,you do not get the help needed) So YES I am SO PROUD of you for speaking of ur emotions to ur Mom and getting this takin care of so now you and ur Mom can love and laugh, and be close now.

    HOW NEAT Ur Mom can do so much physcially!! WOW I am IMPRESSED !!!! Mostly I am impressed with the way you have both let the past be that, ,,, the past, which is what my Mom and I had done also, we let it go, and loved and laughed. Its sooo much FUN huh? My Mom died when she was only 55 and I was only 32, so GLAD I had done that !!! I MISS HER !
    3334 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5233545
    Wow Martha You are truly an inpiration to us all.So glad you and your Mum reunited I know how hard it must have been because i went through similar Love Carol emoticon
    3334 days ago
    Martha, You are still the ever popular cheerleader and I thank you for that and for being one of my spark friends.
    I am finally in our new home. We closed last Friday. Movers arrived Monday needless to say, the house is not looking so good right now and neither am I. I have gained 25lbs since my flare began and the stress of moving sucked me under. I am trying my best to "hurry" and get all of this "stuff" put up so I can concentrate on ME again. As you know the wonderful amenities in this gated community await me. I am looking forward to plunging into that pool and moving this painfully sore and stiff body. I may not log on everyday but I am making progress in getting back to normal which includes sparking and logging my food and catching up with my friends
    3334 days ago
    WOW how inspirational and inspiring!! Many hugs, Moni emoticon
    3334 days ago
    Martha - thank you for sharing with us. My work brings me face to face with addicts and recovering addicts daily, and I know what a struggle it is. Every day is a decision to remain sober/drug free.

    I am glad you and your Mom have a healthy, loving relationship now. God bless you both.
    3334 days ago
  • MICHELLE311106
    Reading this blog made me realize that my mother and I need to make amends. We never were close but are trying to get that mother daughter relationship that I have always wanted. You both deserve reoognition, change came about on both your parts and is wonderful and heartwarming to hear.GOD bless both of you
    3334 days ago
    Awesome! What wonderful renewals and personal growth/achievements. And what a wonderful time for the two of you.
    3335 days ago

    What a wonder and delight that she took that one moment to really look at herself and her life and MAKE that change, let alone stick with it for so many years and make some amends.
    3335 days ago
    Thank you for posting this wonderful story of change and forgiveness. x
    3335 days ago
    Kudos for every single revelation and for sharing it with us. May the good memories last for generations to come, and the bad ones evaporate with the morning dew, Amen.

    We've missed you around here. Hope everything is improving rapidly, and that it's a continuing trend.

    emoticon HOME!
    3335 days ago
    Wow. Your word have once again touched me. You have an amazing spirit and now we know where it comes from. You and your mother are incredible women. Thank you for sharing this with us and welcome home.
    3335 days ago
  • no profile photo CD10081037
    Martha I could not read this without tars running down my cheeks, wow what a leap, from day one, for both you and your mum, this is truely aweinspiring, giving up an addiction is not easy, it is always there whispering in your ear, 30yrs, she is truely and inspiration, you are both so blessed to re have found each other
    Hugs and Thankyou!!!!
    3335 days ago
    Your moms 1st day of sobriety was not a baby step but a major leap. The fact that you have forgiven your mother is another major leap. Both show remarkable courage and determination
    3335 days ago
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