Hey y’all! Did you miss me? Of course you did. Without my fabulousness to rain down upon you, you were all like little parched flowers in a drought, weren’t you? I thought so.
My mother was here last week, and I just never had a private enough moment to blog. God and all his Saints forbid she find out I write this blog. It would scandalize my poor mother. I write about family things and she would faint. The sex posts wouldn’t give her a moments pause, but the family stuff would kill her graveyard dead on the spot.
Anyway, she was a tremendous help while she was here and my daughters were so happy they could have burst. They think Granny Fokker is the greatest thing ever. She always, ALWAYS has time to play with them and paint their faces and read them books and never pulls their hair and thinks they should be able to live on a diet of pumpkin muffins and Pirate’s Booty if they want to. I confess, she is the perfect Granny. Even Spock is thrilled with Granny and chews on Granny’s cheeks as a sign of her love.
Mom and I have a weird relationship. For one thing we are too alike. Neither one of us gives a rat’s ass about being the Alpha of any of our social groups, but we are determined to be the only Bitch Queen in our own house/family. This has caused some tension in the past, much like tornadoes have caused some breezes. The Fokker does not get dominated easily. I seem easy going and I am fairly obliging, but I do not do anything I don’t want to. Period. The end. So when I was a teen and Mom was still trying to be the “boss of my life”, (She was correct in trying, I might add. I was as stump dumb as any other teenager in history.) we’d have these terrible fights. It was Clash of the Titians.
Our differences made it worse. She was emotionally abused, and comes from a cultural milieu that has deeply entrenched misogyny, so she learned that to be “good” she must always put her needs last and she was inherently worthless because of her vagina. She also learned she must manipulate people for survival, and that she needed to be passive aggressive to do this. All the women in her family are like that, so she also came to believe any statement, made about anything under the sun, might be a passive aggressive insult to her. Often, it was. Appalachia is a egalitarian society, which is nice on paper but in practice means that everyone is subjected to leveling techniques. Leveling techniques are social behaviors, like jokes and ridicule and gossip, that prevent the target from achieving a higher station than their peers. This is done, of course, by people in the group with the lowest self-esteem, and who have a vested interest in keeping you from getting “uppity”. So my mom has been a target of several of her siblings who are total losers and really resent she isn’t one too. The normal siblings all love her and don’t do that. Long story not short, it’s left mom with some issues.
But I don’t have any of those issues. You know why? Because she lavished my ass with love and attention when I was a kid. Until I was 6 or 7, and my baby brother was born, I was the leading light in my mom’s universe because she thought the sun shone out of my ass. I was the smartest, the pretties, the best child in the history of space and time. Also, pretty is as pretty does so I was rewarded for acts of kindness, punished for unkindness, and have wound up with very strong moral compass and an obsession with social justice.
There is the unfortunate fact that mom started trying to “level” me when I started puberty so I would be a “good” woman. Seriously, this is how misogyny is perpetuated. Women trying to convince other women they are less valuable because that’s what they were taught. But it was too late for me. I’d had too many hugs as a child, and too much awareness of my inherent human value to displace it now. I could only see myself as the equal of men. I wasn’t vain. I didn’t think I was all that and a pack of crackers. But equal in human value? Equal to those who were born with a penis? Yes. I did think of myself as equal. This bewildered my poor mother. She was frantic with the thought that my ridiculous inability to humble myself before men by batting my eyelashes and acting mentally deficient would doom me to be an old maid. She was so grateful when I married Sweet Babou, and so confused when he told her that he was a feminist too. A man thinking of women as equals! Imagine that!
Although my dad insists he thinks of my mom as an equal because her “let” her work. Not quite sure you’ve grasped the point there, dad. But I love you for the effort.
Anyway, by giving me the love she didn’t get as a kid, mom inadvertently raised me to be a liberal feminist stay-at-home mom who teaches Sunday School. She is Republican. She’s not quite sure where she went wrong.
I had a point to all this. I think. Hmmmm … I think I was going to post about how my mom and I still fight, but are also super-close and call each other at least once a day. Or maybe I was going to post about the fact she gave me the greatest complement of my life when she told me, out of the blue, that she thought I was a wonderful mother to the girls. Made me cry, y’all. Then she told me that the shirt I was wearing made me look awful. WTF? Leave a tender moment alone mom!
Yep. My relationship with my mother is complex. But it is worth it.