Some moms incarnate as Cruella De Ville.
Mother’s Day is around the corner — an annual reminder that the right words to describe the relationship I have with my mom are not in a Hallmark card.
For most of my youth, a gentle, compassionate, big-hearted mother in movies or in real life gave me a tight feeling in my chest. I wanted to experience love like that.
My mom says she loves me but I’ve felt the emptiness in her words since childhood. I still can’t share this information with her at 29, or I get the silent treatment. The experience of a mother’s unconditional love is foreign to me.
Every Mom Can’t Be Sarabi From The Lion King
I was my parent’s first child of five and quickly learned we wouldn’t be taking family photos. I endured the brunt of my mom’s anger, pain, and stress from my parent’s challenging relationship and eventual divorce.
I was the quintessential parentified child by age 8. I spent most of my time helping my mom take care of my siblings because she raised us alone in poverty.
I sensed my mom longed to complete her vision of a beautifully decorated home and live a life like the families in the movies, but her efforts couldn’t hide the fact that she was never happy no matter what she did and her kids were always hungry.
I began voicing what my siblings and I were experiencing (if you’re the oldest child you feel me) and helplessly took the bullets of rage my mom projected on me without a bulletproof vest — it was brutal. I made it my responsibility to shield my siblings the best I could.
Still, I went out of my way to remind my mom of her beauty, true self, and that life was still worth living with or without a big house with a white picket fence and the perfect spouse. I desperately didn’t want to lose her — what parent would I have? My parent’s divorce was finalized when I was 13, and I haven’t seen my dad since.
One thing was clear — nothing I did or said was ever good enough.