I am not the child you wanted. I’m honest, up front and will say whatever comes into my mind, even if it means that I embarrass you. I am not compliant. I sneak out at night. I never liked catechism and mouthed off to the lay teacher who became so frustrated that he threw the books at me and quit. You were called and asked that I not return. I was happy, you were embarrassed …again. I was suspended from High School and I did not go to college. I did get married, but divorced 2 months later. I lived in a commune with no running water. I was not what you wanted but you loved me still and came to visit me in the commune and brought me down to stay in the hotel in town because it was clean and you were sure the water would not make you sick. But now you are old and have Alzheimers and I am here for you. I may not be who you wanted but I am exactly who you need me to be.
We were neither of us what we wanted, but then that was not a question ever asked. We just were in the same place and fell together. I didn’t really know what I wanted and it was not my pattern to ever ask that question. I was not what you wanted. I was loud and opinionated. I pleaded for you to talk. I was not happy with our life together and kept wanting your help to change it. I would not let you be quiet and still in your marijuana haze. I wanted more and you did not. I was a mother to your children, although you did not really want children….at first. I was a gardener and although that was not on your list of desires, it did please you. I was not compliant or submissive. I was demanding that you uphold your half of the relationship and at least half of the responsibilities. I was not quiet in my leaving. I would not allow you to turn your back from all that was needed. But now, so many years later, I am the mother and grandmother you are happy to have in your life. I am the one that is always here and you are the one that can visit and that is what you want.
I am not who you wanted me to be. I did not find you a father that loved you. I did not find a job that paid enough money. I did not have connections that got you out of trouble. I did not hide what you had done. I did not take on your problems as my own. I did not cover your tracks. I did not abandon you. I have loved you no matter that I did not like what you might do. I have stood by you and always had your back. You have not always been who I wanted….
I am not who you wanted me to be. I was not quiet or calm or the most loved child. I was not someone that stood out as exceptional. I was not loveable. I was often invisible. I was not able to understand the chaos. I was not able to manage the violence. I was too sensitive. I was unable to stay within the lie and had to leave. I found ways to avoid and to forget. Some forgetting was permanent. I made poor choices. I did not act in ways that were good for me. I did not have my own back. I did not honor my body or my mind or my soul. I did not love myself. But, I was brave and I did look myself straight in the eyes and I was honest. I became forgiving and less judgemental. I stopped beating myself for all the wrongs I perceived in myself and in all the other people who came in contact with me. I stopped seeing myself as unloveable and unworthy of anything good. I came to see my courage, my gentleness, my creativity, my love of nature, of children, of people and finally my love of myself.
I thought I was not who I wanted to be, but I now see the mirror of all the me’s that have been and I am exactly who I want to be.