How are YOU?

Do you know can be incredibly frustrating about my relationship with my mother? Is that is completely almost totally one-sided! I mean do NOT for a second think that I am ungrateful for everything she has done, sacrificed and achieved in raising me. Don’t for one millisecond think that I don’t sit here in awe of the fact that from the age of eight she raised me as a single parent without any emotional or monetary help from my dad at all.

BUT it seems that the moment I started earning an income I suddenly started morphing into something else. Sure, I was always the one mum spoke to about her problems, finances and don’t even get me started on the abundance of ‘emotional scarring’ my father left on my mother where I all too vividly remember mum crying in her bedroom then scooping me up so I could sleep with her in her bed. But even then if I (as a child) wanted to cry about my own sadness my mum always told me that seeing me cry hurt her too much – me crying would make her cry so that then i’d have to make her feel ok and happy, so in most cases I’d “sort myself” out by just crying by myself in the dead of night in my room.

When I graduated university and got that full-time job I changed yet again; I became the provider, the husband, the listener, the maintainer, the fixer, the translator, the plumber, the driver… BUT I still had a curfew and I STILL had to listen and obey her every instruction. But I did it; I sucked it up and did it – because she raised me, because she did it on her own, because I think she managed to do a bloody good job of it, because I DO love her, because she is my mother.

And now I’m married and have a baby – and whilst I am now not entirely playing the role of “financier” ( though that is NOT for lack of her trying) I am still the translator, the driver and the person to has to calm her down when things seem too much (which is often, as she is a highly anxious person). What frustrates me MOST of all is she never, ever asks how I am.

Never.

Even when she calls me and its obvious I am sick; she’ll say in an accusing tone “you sound sick – why aren’t you taking medicine?” HOW do you answer this? With a deep breath and “yeah, I have a cold, I am taking some medicine – thanks”. I mean really – what else can I say?

But don’t get me wrong – she LOVES our little girl; she looks after lil missy every Monday and I can tell she loves it. And when she calls me she DOES sometimes ask about Amira towards the middle/end of the conversation… she’ll even ask about hubby as well (I know right, how the times have changed!) and how she feels she hasn’t seen him in ages.

But not me – and not about what I’m doing or got planned for the day, or if her call is disturbing me from work etc. No, instead my mum jumps strainght into her conversation and wat is frustrating her at this VERY MILLISECOND and that I, as her daughter, her one and only child – the one she raised all by herself MUST stop whatever I am doing and listen, help and fix her issue… even if it is the EXACT same situation she has already told me of 4 times before in the last other 4 converstations (of which I may have provided a solution but that it does not meet her requirements.

Take for example my converstion with her but minutes ago – as soon as I picked up and said salam she was straight into it “remember how I went to the chemist yesterday? Well they didn’t have the medication for my prescription – so I went to another one today and they said only the chemist in Applecross has this – WHAT will I do? I MUST have this medication NOW! Plus I have the problem with the neighbour still! There are 5 cars parked in front of their and my house – it makes it very difficult for me to reverse out – I have a new car, I could have an ACCIDENT! WHAT should I DO? Maybe I call police and they talk to them? They don’t understand – you can’t JUST park in FRONT someone house like that!” do you notice how there are no full stops? Because my mum doesn’t use them – I feel the need to tell you that at this exact moment; whilst I’m on the phone to my mum that my lil missy is screaming her lungs out as I was trying to get her down for her afternoon nap and that I KNOW my mum would’ve been able to hear – but she doesn’t even ask what’s going on… why? Because SHE has an issue and I MUST listen and fix it…

And I’m totally stuck – I completely caught up in her “you have to help me because I am your mother and I do everything for you” only its not that she does everything for me – it’s that once upon a time I was a child and THEN she DID do everything for me. And tr as I may to desperately make her understand that in fact, for the last DECADE or so I HAVE been the one to do everything and that the moment I worked out my mum held over my head the fact she’d done it ‘all for me’ as a single parent (so that I “owed” her) I quickly smartened up and thought that I would rather go without than ask for help as I did not want my ‘list’ of ‘debt’ to get any greater.

What frustrates me and upsets me most of all is that there is no possible resolution in this situation because try as I have to explain things it either falls on deaf ears or she changes the subject or will throw the trump card: “I gave birth to you.” I can’t argue with that… so I stay silent and realise its easier to just go along with her.

But it hurts me.

Then she asks why she looks after missy once a week and my mother in law has her for 2 days (it’s really 1.5 days) – where do I go with that? That I don’t get a bigger a debt with you? That I hate asking you for anything as it is now? That it’s easier with my in laws because they have a stroller/car seat/toys and cot at their house that they’ve set up whereas at my mum she expects/asks/insist that I MUST purchase and leave all these things at her place because she has ‘no money’.

Don’t for one second underestimate my mum – she may seem like she ‘has no money’ and by no means is she ‘rolling in it’ but she is VERY smart with her money! We go out, she’ll suggest we go for lunch and ask me to pick a place that I know she’ll like (see; the way she makes it seem like I’m picking out the place?). Once we get to said place she’ll see what she wants and tell me what I should order for her then sits down… we go to her doctor’s appointment and she wants us to park close to hospital =but she never offers to pay for anything=, she wants to go away and visit family overseas and she’ll tell me how much the ticket is and then say “I’ll get the travel agent to call you and tell you ‘details’” (details = price); even on my birthday when she gets me a ‘gift’ it’s something I KNOW she’s already had at home. But she’ll say she has no money… and then proceeds to buy herself a band NEW car… only AFTER telling me that her friends daughter =allegedly= bought their mother a new car and asked her (the friend) that my mother should ask her daughter (me) to buy her a car. And even with this new car she doesn’t come to visit me on grounds of “it’s too far” because to my mum ANY place that is MORE than a 7 – 10 minutes’ drive away is WAY too far away (FYI: my house 15minutes drive from her place; the same distance it is from my in laws place!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not resentful about the money; money comes and goes and she IS my mum and she HAS raised me all on her own. More than anything I am upset by the “cumulative-ness” of it all. Of all the expectation without warmth, with the total one-way street with no hesitation, with the fact that I seem to be a call centre officer to her so that all I am is the ‘fixer up-er”.

I am just so very emotionally tired and hurt by it all… but have to silently, stoically keep going and pretend that I am ok with ‘this’…

But she still doesn’t ask: “How are you?”

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About Mr A

Haleem asked in his comment to my Motherly Murmurs (Part 6) post why I like Mr A. now I know what it is that draws me to him – but it’s a completely other thing to jot down a few lines by way of a quick response when you’re trying to explain to a person why you like someone… as I am not particularly one who is rendered speechless I have decided to give it its own special post! So here you go haleem – why Mr A:

 

v     William Wharton once said that love is made up of passion, admiration & respect. That if you have 2 of these things than love can reside but that if you have all three then you don’t need to die to go to heaven. Now obviously the 2 characteristics vary per person – personally I would pick admiration & respect because I know myself well enough to realise that if I have these 2 aspects that there will be passion. In my life I have been blessed with male family members who exude this charisma, this ‘power’ to leaves me awed. I have met many an egotist, an ‘I think my shit don’t stink’ kinda guy or the other end of the spectrum – the ‘wuss’, the ‘pansie’, the man who will let a woman walk all over him and say “ohh, please walk all over me again”. These men bore me, frustrate me… Mr A has somehow managed to fly under my radar and amazed me… time and time and again. Sometimes I sit there and watch him while he’s preparing a meal and I am amazed, rendered silence in who he is & how he has managed to awe me.

 

v     I genuinely like him – I need to say here that you can love someone but not necessarily like them; the 2 traits do not always go part & parcel together. Yet I love Mr A & like him – I like going for a walk around the river with him & talking to him, I like the way he listens & see’s things in a such a different way to the way that I would rationalise & dissect things. I like how he’s thoughtful, kind & caring. I love that I like him.

 

v     Where in a lifetime I have spent so much of it not being able to be the child – having to grow up too fast because of a messy divorce, being the listener, the fixer, the sorter-outer, the therapist, the friend to my mother, the husband, the parent, the person who was told not to cry because it hurt her (my mum) when really all I needed was to bawl, the child who didn’t have many friends in school… always feeling alienated, alone… And yet with Mr A I am me – I smile; he makes me laugh, he brings out the kid in me & he loves it. He loves me… for me. And when it all gets too much – when things hurt & I’m upset he lets me cry; he lets me curl myself up into a tight little ball & cry & cry until there is nothing left – & then he makes me smile; tells me everything will be okay, that’s we’ll fix it together.

 

v     Lame huh – but he does; he loves me for me. Not because of my family name, my heritage, where my family come from, what I look like, where I live, what I can offer because of where I live… none of that… just boring lil me.

 

v     He asks me what I want; what I think, what I need. Not what is expected; what he demands, what I should do, what I must do, what needs to be done – but what I want… and then unselfishly we discuss it & nut it out & come to a compromise.

 

v     I get bored easily – there is no other way to say it. I meet a guy & things will run smoothly and if he’s not a jackass I can get bored – whether its because of their dumbass games they’re playing or the way they have happily plonked themselves down and written ‘doormat’ on their forehead. Let me make this clear – if you let me treat you like crap I probably will… for a while… then I’ll get bored by your “yes honey”, “okay habibi” and “whatever you say” (BIG sigh!!!) & proceed to move on. Mr A has never made me feel this way – he doesn’t bore me: a mean feat let me tell you! He manages to be assertive & sensitive; bold & brilliant. Letting me have my way while still towing a line & keeping me on my toes… I love it!

 

v     I can talk to him – about everything. I can sit there and watch a horror movie like The Unborn and then walk out of it and have us talk about Islamic mysticism & the importance of memorising parts of the Quran. Or we can laugh & play with each other when we both lay claim to Baklava (him stating that the Greeks came up with it & me swearing that the Arabs came up with it!) & pretend to have a little ‘fight’ about it.

 

v     He’s intrigues me – I have known this man nearly 5 years and he still fascinates & intrigues me. He never fails to surprise me in all the best of ways. He makes me smile… from the inside out.

 

v     He makes me calm. Yes, there are times when I want to pin him down and attack him with the sheer frustration of whatever it is we’re debating about but then he’ll do something little like get up & bring me a glass of water or a piece of cake or just some little funny comment that will break the ice & make me realise that I am lucky to have him in my life.

 

v     That he is passionate about life & knows what he wants.

 

v     That he cares about me – yesterday at work I felt more than a little faint & nearly passed out (I have low blood pressure) I had to be helped to the sick room & had some Powerade (for the sugar a& electrolytes – great for low blood pressure sufferers!). Feeling insanely cold & clammy with a horrendous sore stomach I had to have about 2 hours rest. When I called Mr A to tell him after all this he was hurt that I hadn’t called him to tell him what was happening (& that I waited until after the event). Then he Goolges low blood pressure & passing out to see what could have caused the situation – he then called me saying that I must have a lot on my mind & that he was more upset that I didn’t offload to him – that (to him) this is what he is there for & made me promise to be more blunt about how I am feeling as my health was our interest.

 

v     Okay – some level of superficiality here: I think he’s good looking. The way he carries himself, the way he dresses – how he likes to go shopping, how he gets excited when we both buy something; how he smells absolutely devine… all the time; how he looks when he’s watching TV, how animated he gets about football… there are so many more times…

 

v     I love him for the little things he does when I’m feeling down, stressed, worried – even more at times when I don’t tell him & he just seems to know. How when my mum went for her first eye surgery he came around to my house later that night just to drop off some dinner + sticky date pudding (& a tub of ice-cream), my favourite desert! All this because he was worried that I hadn’t eaten all day and was tired & worried & had to pick up mum early the next morning. Like when for valentines day he made me that love-heart sweet bread, or all the times he would deliver cake to my previous employment ‘just because’, or the time he came to get me coffee & came back with coffee for everyone in my team + a gold bangle as a surprise for me. So many little things that mean so much…

 

v     For the way he is with his mum & dad & his sister – the dynamic of their ‘laugh out loud’ relationship – they way they so obviously love & like each other. The way he adores his little sister, how I get along with all of them and think they’re great, warm & loving.

 

v     That I’m not blinded by his flaws but actually embrace them as past of him (& find them enduring in an odd kind of way) – that to me his imperfections are what make him (to me) all the more perfect (for me).

 

v     Oh – there are so many reasons why I love him, how I like him; how he manages to bring out the best, the happiness in me & makes me want to be a better person. How we have the same goals, the same ideals, the same views on raising children… how I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else except him – how I can imagine my entire life with him… all of these & so much more; that if I actually stopped to write it ALL down we would be here for pages & pages (& pages, & pages, & pages, & pages, & pages, & posts, & posts, & yet more posts) – so I’ll leave it at that… that with him I have all 3; passion, admiration & respect… & so much more!