Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Week 24

Baby is 24 weeks old, we are approaching half year of our existence together and this relationship is definitely not fading. I am one big proud mother.

Speaking of mothering, I am still recovering from a visit of my mother. We didn't spend so much time together since I left home many many years ago, I time my visit at parents' place carefully, a weekend is more than enough. Mother came for a week because of baby - she never visited me in any places I lived no matter how far or close I went. We are not close, we didn't have a great relationship to start with. She brought me up but she never understood me, never tried. I never realized what she wanted from me, I just knew I wasn't the way she thought I should be.

I only started to feel as a valuable daughter once I settled with husband. That is what she always wanted: me settled with a good man. She lives a very isolated life, married for a long time, my father and her grew very dependent on one another over the years, but I wonder if they are together because they really want to. I was always proud of my independence and my achievements, she couldn't understand it. So I settled, she could understand me better, she was happy. Then I was finally married - good. Then there was my first pregnancy - even better. I miscarried and paradoxically the person I wanted to call first was my mother even though she never helped me in any of my crisis before. But after the loss of a baby she understood, it is women thing,  the time we need one another. I couldn't get pregnant for a long time and the feeling of connection and approval faded again. She couldn't understand that I wanted a child but didn't insist on having one, in my opinion life was still worth living even without being a mother, she thought I should have go for medical assistance few months after the miscarriage. I don't know if it is a generation thing or if women in general tend to blame themselves but all the time she assumed my miscarriage happened because of something I have done and I wasn't getting pregnant because something was wrong with me.

Once she found out about my second pregnancy she was happy as never before and so proud. And now she is the happiest grandmother, so happy that she even made her first big trip overseas by a plane. That is the power of my baby.

So there she was suddenly in my home very out of her element. She is used to rule her little world, dad pretty much complies with the rules she creates (he wasn't allowed to come with her as her kingdom must be well looked after and a week is too long to leave it unattended) and suddenly she is here, I am the lady of the house and I don't rule, I exist. I leave husband to do his own thing, I don't plan meals in advance, I don't do things the way she does. We do trips and I breastfeed in public which shocks her, we are showing her England and the culture and she keeps explaining to me how she does things and clearly can not understand that it will not change my (or whole of England) ways. She expected me to still feel weak from childbirth (she had kids in her twenties, everyone did back then so I am a geriatric mother in her eyes, no matter how healthy and strong I obviously am), spending time at home, so our itinerary shocks her but she becomes a very keen tourist and observer. She makes me so proud!

There is a woman who, long ago, chose to be unhappy. She seems to look for the negatives on everything. I was constantly told how I should arrange the house and the garden, how the food could  be cooked differently, how I should feed, bath and care for baby, my wardrobe was one big disapproval, too. She didn't want to see that the way we are and do things suit our family, that the way we deal with baby clearly works for us all. Maybe she suffered from the 'passing on knowledge symptom' but we never did that so why to start now?

She kept talking about her many many illnesses and issues, health problems are big part of her life. She collects illnesses like people collect stamps, she even seems disappointed when she doesn't have something that other people she knows have. She assumed I know most or all of her diagnoses since she mentioned them in the past but I lost count long ago. So I fed her all the things that were supposed to potentially kill her and yet nothing have happened. She clearly can digest garlic, dairy, strawberries and nuts and she clearly survives without exact meal times, checking of blood pressure three times a day and all kinds of herbal teas. But she did bring half of pharmacy with her, even the special pills case with compartments for each day of the week. She held to it like people hold to good luck charms. Long car drives didn't make her uncomfortable and she doesn't suffer from insomnia because I could hear her snoring every night. Observing my mother, a stranger in a way, made me think that happiness is our own choice. No matter how hard life is we make the choice how we deal with what comes our way. I deal with troubles when they approach me. She looks for them and sometimes goes out of her way to find them. Why is she like this I will never know.

So husband and I listened to her lists of possible improvements which will never happen and we heard how she does things or how she did things when I was a baby. We tried our best to accommodate her, to make her first big trip special and at the end we took her to the airport, and she was visibly twitching to be back in her own little world, to rule again. We were looking forward being our own little unit again with all the chaos that suits us. She saw her first grandchild and it made her very happy. Me and her didn't get any closer, didn't gain any understanding of one another which was to be expected and I am fine with it. I don't know if she is because we don't discuss feelings in our family - she knows exactly how we feel and explains it to us - one of the reason I left our family home early and traveled far...
Oh dear, I hope that the saying about women becoming replicas of their mothers is not true..... On the other hand, if I had a great mum who was my best friend, I would probably not be so keen to go, see the world, be adventurous, live life to the full, be independent. I might have wanted to stay close to her and everything would be different. So whether she wanted or not she made me who I am and there is a good chance that she is secretly proud of it.

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