I started thinking about calling my mother two days ago. We haven’t spoken or seen each other in over 10 years. I called my younger sister instead, the wise sister who is able to set boundaries in order to keep our mother in her life.
“Well why do you want to call her?” she asked.
“I just feel like enough time has passed and people make mistakes in life. I can’t just not talk to her forever. I miss having a mom.” Interesting, I thought. I miss having a mom, just not necessarily our mom.
My sister told me, “Well, she’s going to cry a lot so be prepared for that. And mom is still mom. She’ll get mad at something I say and she’ll hang up on me and not talk to me for a couple weeks. Then call me and pretend like everything is okay.”
“I don’t want to deal with that.” My desire to call my mother disappeared as quickly as it first presented itself to me.
Until my mother can stop hanging up on her children—something she has infamously done our entire lives when we say or do something that doesn’t make her happy—I don’t want to open the door to phone conversations. Until my mother can maturely talk about something she doesn’t agree with instead of getting angry and withholding her attention from her children, I don’t want to open the door to phone conversations.
Until, until, until. I feel like I’m being too hard, too stubborn, too ungrateful…all traits my mother has called me since I was a young girl. I remember her great sense of humor, and I also remember the pure hatefulness she fed us. I remember her great advice when I felt depressed and lost. And I remember the mean mother messages I got from her. The most hurtful was that I’m not good enough, a message I carry with me and struggle with to this day.
As a person who battles depression, I have days I barely make it out of bed, days I don’t shower or brush my teeth or do any basic self-care. So the thought of having the added layer of making my mother happy, walking on eggshells so she doesn’t get angry, saying the right things so she won’t hang up on me is all too much to take on. I know countless motherless daughters who wish they could call their mother just one more time, and here I am choosing not to talk to mine.
Considering calling my mother comes and goes. I don’t know if it’s guilt or grief. The only thing I know for sure is I’m not ready to have my mother in my life.