Dear John, I Mean Mom

Dear Mother,

I just found out you are having a 70th birthday bash, and you didn’t invite me. And my feelings are hurt. Again. As usual.

You said it was because I told you I didn’t do family functions, but what I really said was I didn’t do the family Christmas Eve. And when I pointed that out to you today, you said you didn’t invite me because I didn’t get along with my sister, and you didn’t want a tense environment for your party. So you chose my sister. You picked her, instead of me. And then you added, I hurt you.

It’s okay Mother, I understand from your text you don’t want a tense environment, and so you chose to invite my sister, my brother, my aunts, my uncle and my oldest son; but not me, and your youngest grandson, who incidentally has his own car, and can drive unaccompanied.

And thank you Mother, for the offer (via text) to text me after everyone leaves, in case I want to come over, with my youngest son. Although, I must decline your kind afterthought, as we kind of feel like interlopers now.

As for the tension, I recognize I do not get along with my sister; but we don’t fight Mother, we simply don’t make small talk. Two months ago, when I was with the entire family, including my sister, nobody uttered an angry word, and I didn’t sense a drop of tension, did you?

And you say I have hurt you? Are these recent hurts? What did I do that was so bad you felt the need to blacklist me for your 70th birthday party, and not even tell me? I thought things were good with us. I thought we were trying to carve out some type of relationship. We’ve been texting and chatting a few times a month for the last couple of years.. I even visited you at your summer house, and I thought we had a nice visit. Hmmm. I’m a bit dumbfounded; caught with my guard down and my heart exposed, again. Damn, I’m crying. Strike fifty-four. What’s that definition for crazy again?

And Mother, as a mother myself, I’m also baffled; shocked and surprised. I couldn’t pick which one of my sons to not invite to my birthday party. Because this isn’t like Chuck E Cheese on your tenth birthday; where you can’t invite your whole class because you are limited to a dozen kids, so you have to pick and choose. Remember when we did that? Well, your guest list is not limited. And I am your oldest child. YOUR daughter. And you invited my brother and my sister. And you didn’t invite me. This baffles me. How did you decide? I guess I always kind of knew you had your favorites. When I was fifteen I saw Sophie’s Choice, and afterwards my friends and I talked about which kid our parents would pick; I sort of knew even back then, if you had Sophie’s Choice, and you had to pick one kid to send away, it would have been me. I guess I’m glad it was a birthday party and not the gas chamber.

As for the hurts Mother, I can tell you, my boys hurt me. My boys make me mad, they anger me, and they say hurtful things. But I can’t choose one, or two of them Mother. And I don’t hold on to the hurts. I think this is the part where unconditional love comes in; I love my sons completely, and I will love them no matter what they do or say. I may not always like my sons or their choices, but I will always, always love them. That said Mother, I couldn’t pick. I couldn’t pick which one of my sons to leave off my birthday party list; if I thought the party atmosphere would be too tense, I wouldn’t invite any of them. Or I would invite all of three of my sons, and threaten them to be on their best behavior; or I would just relish in the chaos that I miss so much now that they are grown. Or maybe I just wouldn’t have a birthday party. Regardless, I know for sure, I would never, ever, invite two of my three boys to my birthday party, and then not tell the third one. And I especially would not tell the uninvited son, after he asks about it, that he could come over after everyone leaves, for the scraps. Can I rub salt in your wound?

In the past I looked at our lack of closeness as my loss Mother, and for a long time I believed it was my loss. But now, I realize I’ve gained. I’ve built a happy life for myself with my own family, and my friends-like-family; and I’ve surrounded myself with unconditional love, and other kinds of love. For the first time ever, I have a strong support system and a true family Mother. My life is rich and full.

So I’m sad for you Mother, because you have no idea what an awesome daughter I could have been; and what a fantastic mother and woman I have become. And you don’t even know how amazing your youngest grandson is, and you won’t know my grandchildren, or my family because you keep throwing us away, as if we are expendable; and then, you keep expecting us to come back smiling, like nothing ever happened.

Well, I love you Mother; but loving you hurts. And after almost forty-six years, I’ve decided that it stops here. Today.

Happy 70th Birthday Mother. And here is wishing you many more happy, healthy and tension-free birthdays. I really do wish you the best of everything.

Love always,

Kelly

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