I remember reading about a true story, where a mother had shot her own children. The oldest survived. I believe she was around 10 years old. She was asked, on the witness stand, if she loved her mama. She replied, “yes”. I think kids have the purest form of “unconditional love”. They truly love their parents, and desperately seek that love from their parents, in return. I still love my mother. I still wish she loved me. I still cling tightly to any and all memories and material things that make me feel her “love” for me. I still hope and pray for her to get clean and for us to be able to build some sort of relationship. My daughter was doing a school project, and she asked me what my one wish would be. I told her, “To have my mama”. Maybe it was inappropriate to say that to my daughter? It was just my very first thought. That would be my wish. I don’t hate her. I want her to get better! I realize there are a whole lot of things I’m still working through, from my childhood. I still love her, though. I can’t have her in my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her. I absolutely do. She’s my mom. Even if she didn’t want to be. I want her to want to be my mom.
Something I’ve never written about, is my brother’s story. When I was a young teenager, my aunt spilled the tea about a big ol’ family secret. My mother had left my dad, and gotten pregnant. My dad showed up, at the hospital, the day my brother was born. He is on his birth certificate. He is not my brother’s biological father, though. Even my brother does not know this. I never told a single soul about this, until a few years ago. I’ve talked to Adam and Jackie, but that’s it. My dad never wants my brother to know. It would devastate him. Make him feel even more alienated. He was the “black sheep”, growing up. Our mother was hardest on him. My dad’s side of the family was mean to him. My dad was never cruel to him. I don’t ever remember him treating my brother as anything less than his SON. My dad didn’t even speak to most of his family, for most of my childhood. I’m sure our mother, and my brother, are the reasons why.
The first time I had a conversation with my dad about this, was a few years ago, when my parents were officially divorcing. His lawyer mentioned something we could use against my mother. My dad said absolutely not. I told him I knew what that something was. My aunt told me, years ago. I told him I would never share this secret. We never discussed it any further, or ever again.
I’ve carried the weight of a lot of our family’s “secrets”. I’ve held onto so many things that I never wanted to share, because I love my family. It isn’t easy to be a little girl, with the kind of weight that secrets like that carry. It still isn’t particularly easy to carry, as an adult woman. A part of me feels guilty for even writing about things I’ve kept hidden for so long. The things I pushed way down deep inside of myself, and refused to ever bring back to the surface. I am the oldest child, in my family. My brother and I are only 20 months apart, though. We grew up so close. I never want him to know the secret I know. I don’t want him to feel like he doesn’t have either parent in his life. It’s hard enough when your mother doesn’t care. I can’t do that to him. Obviously, the biological father isn’t interested in him. The thing is, that knowledge would make my brother feel the things we’ve felt about our mother, only doubled. He’d wonder why his “dad” didn’t give a shit. He’s got a dad. He’s the same man who took care of us. He’s the guy who’s always been here for us. We have him. He loves us back.
I push away so many things like this. I can put them into a “box”, lock it up, throw away the key, and still it comes back. Pretty much the only places I can show these secrets, is my blog. I talk to Adam about a little of it. I share a little with Jackie. Mostly, I keep it hidden. I might start to talk about things, and then shut down. My people know me. They know when I’m done sharing. I’m okay with carrying quite a bit, by myself. It’s just that I slip up, every so often, and I spill secrets.
I think this is why I’m so open with my own kids. They know who their mama is. They see that I’m human, I make mistakes. I’m not afraid to tell them I’m sorry, when I’m wrong. I share my life with them, as they grow, in bits and pieces that I know they’re able to digest. I’m never ashamed to let my children see that their mama isn’t perfect. The amazing thing is, they still love me. I think it builds our bond. I never ask them to keep my secrets. I never want put things on them. I want them to just be kids. I expect them to screw up, once in awhile. I want them to know I’ll always be here to catch them, when they fall.
I’m very strong, when it comes to so many things. I’m tiny. I’m fierce, though. It takes a whole lot of strength for Adam to be able to rise above my own. Im very determined, and also hard headed, as a result. There’s such a comfort in having someone who loves and cares for me be able to find strength when I am weak. My closest people can see through my tough exterior. They know that the “hardness” I try so hard to portray, is a mask for pain I’m carrying. It’s how I protect myself, and my secrets. It’s how I’ve learned to move through life. I appreciate Adam’s ability to see through this, and he’s amazing about doing exactly what I need him to. He’s literally the only person in my life, who’s unafraid of “angry Eve”. He understands that my anger is coming from some hurt I haven’t expressed yet. At the same time, he won’t allow me to continue down an unhealthy path. That’s a huge comfort, for me.
It’s not always “sunshine and flowers”. We have our tough moments, but we get through them together. Always together.