I have a strange relationship with Mother.
While in the US, I called her twice. Once after Grams passed away, and another time when I was testing a new calling card. In the second call, I told her when I was going to be in Singapore.
So I got back last Thursday night, and was busy that weekend for Kel’s wedding. I never thought I needed to call her until I was free. After all, I was away for quite a while without calling much. But YQ sms-ed me on Sunday night while I was out to say that she was going on and on about how come I never called. He asked me to call back.
Can’t she just pick up the fucking phone and call if she had something to say?!
I suppose it was like while I was in Oxford. She had never once called. Not even once. She only expected me to call her.
Anyway, I was adamant that unless I was free, I wasn’t going to make that obligatory call. So I called only on Monday after work. Can’t even remember now what I said. Anyway, yesterday, she actually picked up the phone to call me. So we had lunch today.
But you know what? We had nothing much to say. Just dragging things out of thin air to fill the silence. At one point, she asked, “No baby?” That really got me angry – she was the one who cursed me that I would have no kids! And now she had the cheek to ask that? I just told her to stay out of that matter.
After lunch, she was going to take the bus home while I roamed AMK Hub but after we turned our backs, she called me from behind to say she wasn’t going to go back so early. So we just walked two floors for a while and I decided I would go home so we split.
What do you make of this?
Honestly, I have very mixed feelings towards her. I know she went through a lot with an useless ex-husband. And she has cared a lot about me. When I was a jaundice baby, she looked after me all the time – heard from her many times, usually when she was angry and said I wasn’t worth her caring for me back then. And she was sad when I first left for Oxford. I also remember the time she helped me collect my extended MC slip when I was too ill to go get it. On our birthdays when we were kids, she would cook something nice. And I think she missed me so she wanted to go around AMK Hub with me for a while today.
But while I struggled to find examples of her being good to me, I could very easily remember all the times she wasn’t.
Like today, when I got to her house, she was in the toilet so I sat down with a magazine. When she came out and saw me, the first thing she said was about this pair of boots I had. Where was it? Oh, the faux leather fell apart and I threw it away. Then she lifted her hand in a fist and made an action to hit me – of course she didn’t but it was her most classic threatening action. Wasteful! She said as she did the irritating action. What’s her problem?! Being rude and threatening, and meddling with my business.. The boots were no longer in a wearable condition and I bought them with my fucking money!
As a kid, I always wanted to tell her about things that happened in school. But all I got as I started talking was a brush-off cos she was cooking (apparently with her ears) or – get this – watching TV. I learnt to just stop trying to make conversation. Being the eldest child, I was very controlled and could not do this or that. Such restrictions strangely did not apply to my siblings. And being the eldest child, I was expected to give way to the younger ones for like everything. Doing well in school didn’t earn me any recognition or encouragement. Perhaps I just became more trusted, cos every time I went back in summer or after I moved out, she would shove letters in my face to interpret and lucky draw coupons to fill in, when my siblings were there all the fucking time!
Ok, if I sit down to think about it, I gather that maybe she wants to spend more time with me so she always asks me to do trivial things. And she doesn’t know how to communicate other than asking me to do errands etc.
It’s fine if it’s just that. I can rationalise and understand that she isn’t very well educated and that’s just her way of communication.
But I can never, ever forget what she said to me. What kind of mother would curse her daughter to be childless??! I just want to stay far away in case I kena cursed again. It might have been said in a fit of anger but what’s said is said. She can take back her words but I cannot un-hear it.
I was talking with a couple of people recently on separate occasions and this issue came up. I’m glad they understand, although I’d much rather we all don’t understand such matters! :p So, I was saying that I started thinking of leaving home since age 11. I just wanted to leave the house, leave the dysfunctional family. Even now, there are times when I wish to just leave Singapore for good so that I don’t ever need to bother about this relationship anymore. Give her a lump sum to fulfil my obligation and that’s it. But Sito and I think that Singapore is a good place to live in. This is also where all my friends and other family are. I’ll just have to deal with it in as civil a manner as I can.
I think it’s pretty sad when mother and daughter are not close. I tried before. I was going around taking pictures with family and friends before I left for Oxford. In one shot, I put my arms around her, and she said, “Don’t pretend to be close la!” She simply rejected me outright. I’m not going back to be humiliated – or cursed – by her anymore. I just have an obligation towards her – so long as I’m working, I’ll continue to support her financially. But I just couldn’t find it in my heart to love her. And I feel sad for her cos of this, to have a daughter who doesn’t love you. It is unfortunate but it is something I’ve come to accept.
Update 27 Nov 2010
I subscribe to a health and fitness website and get emails very frequently. Lately I haven't been reading much cos these days, they usually link to articles rather than give the articles in the emails. But just now, I clicked on a link, and read this:
"Holding onto a grievance doesn't give you control over the offender, and it doesn't 'punish' them; it gives THEM control over you, and punishes YOU, because you're the one holding onto the health-harming stress and lack of peace of mind."
I need to think. And learn.