139 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to maumau7, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

 

“I’ve learned a lot this year..

 

I learned that things don’t always turn our the way you planned,

or the way you think they should.

 

And I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong

that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before.

 

I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken,

 

and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones,

 

as long as you have people who love you.”

 

[ Jennifer WeinerGood in Bed ]

That’s Him Trying

“Growing up happens in a heartbeat.

One day you’re in diapers; the next day you’re gone.

But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul.”

[ The Wonder Years ]

 

My father is far from perfect: More an uncle than a father at best, more a stranger than a family member at worst.

I wanted to write so many posts about him (and maybe I still will), but I’ve come to realize something important lately:

All the harsh words and all the too tight teddy-bear-hugs;

all the missed P.T.A.-conferences, hockey meets, my 18th and my 19th birthday;

him still giving me € 50,- “travel expenses” every time I go to see him;

all the leaving me at home at nights when I was young and bringing back random women to “cuddle” (as he put it);

all the disappointment I’ve seen in his eyes when he talks about the potential I had;

all the letting me wait for hours in his office because he forgot;

all the excuses and all the times there should have been excuse but there weren’t;

all of his lack of interest in anything I did during my teenage years;

all the awkward moments when he tried so hard to fill a mothers shoes (bra shopping being one of them);

all the times he let me down and all the times he picked me up;

all the fights and all the laughter;

all the living and struggling that went on between us and will go on until the day we leave this earth;

all of that and so much more is him trying.

 

Thank you, Daddy: Happy Fathers Day.

 

[ “That’s Me Trying” – William Shatner ]

 

134 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to B`Creative Photography, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

 

“Even if I’m setting myself up for failure,

I think it’s worth trying to be a mother who delights in who her children are,

in their knock-knock jokes and earnest questions.

 

A mother who spends less time obsessing about what will happen,

or what has happened,

and more time reveling in what is.

 

A mother who doesn’t fret over failings and slights,

who realizes her worries and anxieties are just thoughts,

the continuous chattering and judgement of a too busy mind.

 

A mother who doesn’t worry so much about being bad or good

but just recognizes that she’s both, and neither.

 

A mother who does her best,

and for whom that is good enough,

even if,

in the end,

her best turns out to be,

simply,

not bad. ”

 

Ayelet Waldman Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace ]

 

I Was The Little Girl With The Lunchbox

“Like everyone else I am what I am: an individual, unique and different, with a lineal history of ancestral promptings and urgings; a history of dreams, desires, and of special experiences, all of which I am the sum total.”

[ Charlie ChaplinMy Autobiographie ]

I haven’t talked a lot about my mother lately. In all honesty I have been to busy rejoicing in my new-found freedom.

Today I remembered something I didn’t even know I had forgotten.

I remembered the first time I distinctly realized that I was the girl who was different. I was the girl without a mommy.

The German School system is different from the American School system, so when I tell you I was in pre-school, I mean I was in my last year of kindergarten about to enter first grade and I was only one long summer vacation shy of being seven years old.

(No, I wasn’t held back a year. I’m an October baby and the deadline is in August, so … you do the math. You’re probably better at it than I am. Come to think about it, maybe I was held back a year?!)

Tradition wants that the last day of pre school is celebrated by taking on the little boys and girls on a glorious outing or in my case on a field trip to the local zoo.

The kindergarten teachers sent out information packages to the parents specifying what the children should bring a long on the trip and when to drop them off and where to pick them up.

I know it specified us bringing lunch in a backpack. The reason why I remember this so clearly is because my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pich (pronounced “Peach” – sweet, huh?!), reminded us to bring our backpacks that our mommies would give us to kinder garden the next day.

The next morning, I didn’t have a backpack. It must have slipped my father’s mind. Somehow I knew it was vital for me to bring a piece of carry-on-luggage. I didn’t have a kiddy backpack, but I had something so much better. I had a pink sparkly care-bear lunchbox in which I stored all my favorite toys. So that morning, backpackless, I grabbed my pink lunch box filled with my most prized possessions (including but not limited to a toy car that changed colours when you rubbed it long enough with your sweaty palms) and walked myself to kindergarten.

I always walked myself to kindergarten. It was just across the park and it was the 80s so my father wasn’t too neglectful that way. A lot of kids walked themselves to kindergarten back then. Well at least preschoolers did.

When I got there not only was I the only kid who arrived without special parental attention, but I was also the only kid without a backpack.

For a moment most mothers just looked at me. Then my Mrs. Pich took be aside and asked if she could see what I brought for the special outing. When she saw that my lunchbox was filled with toys and other inedible items (including but not limited to a dried up marker), she asked me if I could do her a favor. She told me she had stupidly brought her lunch for today and for tomorrow. She wanted to know, if I would leave some of my toys behind and help her carry all the lunch she brought. Also she quickly tied a jump rope to my lunchbox so I didn’t have to hold on it around all day, but could instead carry it like an overgrown purse.

I don’t remember much more from that day. We saw animals, I think. Afterall it was a zoo. But I don’t really need to.

I have photos.

In all of them you see 12 happy children, smiling, laughing and having a great time.

All of them have little kiddy backpacks on their backs. Except for one. The brown-eyed girl with two dark thick braids carrying a glittery pink care-bear lunchbox tied awkwardly to her with a jump rope.

I remember sitting on the jungle gym for the group shot holding my lunchbox.

I distinctly remember feeling different.

But I also remember feeling special: I might not have had a mommy drop me off that morning, but I was the only kid that got to share Mrs. Piches lunch with her.

[ “Soul Killing” – The Ting Tings ]

27 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[All credit to dodotaxi, whose lovely picture may be found here]

“The most savory grape,

the one that produces the wines with best texture and aroma,

the sweetest and most generous,

doesn’t grow in rich soil but in stony land;

the plant,

with a mother’s obstinacy,

overcomes obstacles to thrust its roots deep into the ground and take advantage of every drop of water.

That,

my grandmother explained to me,

is how flavors are concentrated in the grape.”

[ Isabel AllendePortrait in Sepia ]

What My Mother Said Next

via "Mothers Are Home" @ blogspot.com/

“Mother’s love is peace.

It need not be acquired,

it need not be deserved.”

[Erich Fromm]

I previously shared a snippet out of my mother’s journal, which she kept in anticipation of my arrival, in “From My Mother’s Lips”.

Whenever I feel the need for motherly warmth, I return to it. As someone commented rightly on the above post, she left me the most amazing gift:

” A glimpse into her heart.”

This entry, to me, holds a sense of strength and continuance. I share this not only so you may know me more through her words, but also so maybe – just maybe – this may make you smile.

I share this for you, my dear Patrice and everybody else in need of a motherly touch:

“Today is the 27th day of August. We are in the 35th week. You are expected to arrive on the 2nd of October, in approximately 6 weeks.

Are you getting excited? What sorts of preparations have you made for your coming? Are you anticipating the journey out of darkness?

Well, just don’t be afraid, we’ll all three be there helping each other.

Oh! You’re hopping about in me again. Are you happy? Do you feel the warmth of the sun upon you? Do you want out?

I had a dream last night and when I awoke, I felt great – so strong and unafraid.

Well as dreams go it was complicated and intricate and rather illogical.

What I remember of it is driving home in Concord. It was a dark night, maybe even raining. As I turned into the driveway a white cat ran across the way caught in my headlights.

I stopped, got out and picked up the little kitten. As I stroked it and loved it, it no longer was a kitten. I was holding a baby, my baby. You had lots of dark brown hair and eyebrows already closely knit.

Then we looked at each other and we laughed. I’ve never known anyone to laugh so much. I carried you into my old bedroom at home and we laughed some more and anyone could see that we were meant to be together. We really liked each other.

Then Rose and others from the hall gang came by to investigate,  and I showed them my new baby. Well, Rose didn’t approve at all. Realistic as she is, she assured me, that it couldn’t possibly be my child and that some half scared mother was probably searching frantically for her lost child. I didn’t want to believe her. But together we went out on the driveway and lo and behold the real mother did come and joyfully took you home.

So now I’m back to waiting.”

[ “Your Song” – Ellie Goulding (Elton John Cover) ]

Sorry To Dissapoint You, But I Am Not My Mother!

“There is just one life for each of us:

Our own.”

[Euripides]

One of my stored away feelings in one of the many boxes hit home again last night: the feeling of freedom.

One of the things I have always considered both a grace of god and a curse is the striking similarity in looks between my mother and me.

We both have heart-shaped faces with soft brown eyes, brigitte-bardot-lips and thick, jet-black, silky, wavy hair (although I have recently started colouring mine a darker honey-shade blonde – which actually goes quite well with my fair skin).

Beyond the apparent similarity in features we also have (or so I have been told) similar mannerisms. I have a tendency of tilting my head slightly to the left in pictures (so does she), I have done ludicrous things to help others (her life was about being reckless for the sake of others), we have the same insecure half-smile when we are nervous and we treasure harmony more than anything else in the world.

Weirdly enough we also made some very identical choices in our lives and had some not-so-great things happen to us, that would probably happen to almost everybody making the choices we made, but still don’t happen to the average person.

I always treasured that. It felt like all those little tiny pieces came together as a singular stream of connection between me and the woman who gave birth to me and nourished me and raised me and who I still for the life of me can not remember.

Over the years, her friends have gotten in touch with me over Facebook, e-mails, via my father and my grandparents in the US. This too, I treasured. They were my rearview mirror that could show me images of the past I am not able to see with my own eyes. They could paint pictures of my mother that went beyond her life with my father and me, back to her childhood and youth and somehow that was comforting, making her more real to me.

I loved when people said how much I favoured her. It made me feel like my purpose was to keep her alive through me – not just as a memory or a genetic trait, but to actually relive and continue her life for her.

The last couple of days or maybe weeks, before my 30th birthday all this grace slowly started to turn sour. It started to feel less like a gift and more like a curse.

Her life ended after thirty years, how could mine continue? Where was I to go from here, without my steady compass of “This-is-the-road-she-travelled-before-me”? It felt like her steady ghost would abandon me at last and I would finally be left all alone.

This scared me. I wasn’t ready to face the world completely motherless. You see in my mind she was still always there, by my side watching me retread her steps.

I wasn’t sure, if I was capable of living my own life without her almost symbiotic presence. Which way should I turn when the path before me faltered and stopped?

The weird thing is the first thing I felt when I opened my eyes on october the 10th was not fear or loneliness or worries. It was the feeling of freedom. I felt like, for the first time since I could remember, I was breathing fresh air and filling my lunges with endless possibilities of my very own life. I wasn’t aware that I had waited for this moment for so long and that now, finally, it had arrived.

Nothing I would do and will do from this moment forward will have any connection to the life she lived, because her life simply didn’t go on beyond this point.

In all honesty, I will have to admit that this feeling of freedom did not remain pure and untinged for all too long. It was soon mixed with guilt about me feeling this way and a sense of disloyality towards the woman who had cared for me and loved me until the end.

I would like to say it helped that her friends got in touch with me that day and I suppose in a way it did, but not in the immediate way one would expect.

The general sentiment that was conveyed to me that day was that I should celebrate my birthday like no other and never falter because my mother could live on through me.

I understand that this was said to comfort me.

All it did, however, was make me furious!

I had given her thirty years of my life. Thirty years of living in her shadow. Thirty years of copying her. Thirty years of searching for as much of her as I could find, so that I could strive to become her.

Enough is enough.

I understand that losing my mother to her friends was a tragedy. She was charming, caring, witty, beautiful, creative and lovely. I understand that life without her will always lack the luster of her wild spirit and pearling laugh.

I also understand that she didn’t leave on october 10th 2011 when I decided to finally live my own life.

All of what she was ended on April 20th 1984. Her 30th birthday, not mine.

So, I’m sorry if this hurts you, but I just have to let you know:

“I am not my mother! I came from her and through her, but she doesn’t live on inside of me. All of what is inside of me is 100% me – don’t be fooled by appearances!”

Home – Coming

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you”

[Christian Morgenstern]

Dear you'(s)

this might be the first post I have to start out with an apology… :

I am sorry for having neglected my blog and most importantly for having neglected the friendships formed because of this blog.

I could bore you with tales about my upcoming international law specialization exam in January – February 2012 and the countless hours spent crouched over my desk, squinting at codified laws and legal precedents, but firstly I don’t feel you should have to suffer this along side with me and secondly it wouldn’t be truth.

Well at least not the entire truth.

Sometimes, when things get hard to bear emotionally I have a tendency of going into social-hibernation. I close off all that is emotional and focus exclusively on rational tasks at hand.

ImageTurning 30 was such an intense emotional experience of loss, insecurity, liberty, exhilaration and emptiness, that instead of facing these feelings head on, I opted to shove them all into little boxes to stack in the attic of my mind and ignore: If I can’t see it, it can’t see me either, right?!

Obviously, talking to you here would have made it harder for me to ignore all those boxes and rightfully so… .

I haven’t opened them yet (and I don’t plan on doing so for a while), but I have acknowledged their existence again.

However, I (neglectfully) didn’t realize that I wasn’t just shutting out feelings and emotions,

but people: Image

you!

who cared.

I am truly sorry.

Thank you for still being there listening and lighting my way back home.

 

From My Mother’s Lips

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”

[Unknown]

As the 10th of October draws closer with every day and with it my 30th birthday, I have experienced a turmoil of mixed emotions: Pain, sadness, grief, anger, confusion and helplessness. I can’t help but believe, that the passing of this day will mark the passing of these feelings.

Until then, as I am at loss for words, I feel it is only appropriate to let my mother speak. The following passage is taken from her diary, which she commenced in anticipation of my arrival.

May 31 1981

I’m sitting here in the midst of wild flowers, tall grass, surrounded by a deep forest, overhead a blue and white speckled sky.

I left your Daddy and our home for today with a most definite intention of being alone with you. I feel you inside me off and on all day long, and as you beat your hands and feet against me in outrage and protest begging for more room – breathing space, my stomach extends itself evermore in sympathy with you.

Anyways, this morning, after consuming a copious breakfast, the two of us left your dear father to play soccer and bounced of down the road looking for a utopic resting ground. All for the noise from the traffic below it is ideal – don’t you agree? And already two young deer danced before our eyes. Sometimes I’m amazed at how beautiful life can be. Your life to me is wonderful. Your father marvels at the beauty of you and tenderly caresses and kisses you. Do you feel him through all those protective layers?

I don’t know if you realize, that this is the first and the last time, that the two of us will so intimately be as one.

The field wherein we lie is full of multi-colored wild flowers and we lie here in all our blissful nakedness, so innocent, none would dare breath a discouraging word.

Being More Than “Motherless”

“To be nobody but yourself in a world, which is doing it’s best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

[E. E. Cummings]

It’s late here – around 1:40am and I am still awake, thinking. The reason why I can’t sleep is, that I have been thinking about my journey here and trying to figure out where I stand.

If you have spent some time on this blog, or even if you just read the in scripture at the top, you know that I started this blog in attempt to meet other motherless daughters out there who could relate to me.

Looking back at the last couple of days, it almost feel like I lost focus of that and for a while that had me confused. I took a step back and tried to figure out, if I still wanted this blog to be what I intended it to be in the beginning: a safe place for other motherless daughters.

Surprisingly, the answer is “yes”. Very much so! It is so important for me to know, that I and my feelings are not a stranded alien without a mothership on a hostile planet. I need to know, that there are others out there and I need them to know that I here too.

However, I believe the most important part in this journey is me being authentic. Even though I made the conscious decision to remain anonymous, I still want to be all the me there is with the exception of divulging my name.

Well, all the me there is isn’t just a motherless daughter. It’s also funny, crazy, boring, annoying, needy, disciplined, hard-headed, creative, independent, contradictional and a million adjectives that come with being a young woman.

I am more than just motherless and I want to be able to share this more with everybody out there as well.

Funnily enough, I have come to the realisation, that the voice of a motherless daughter is not always faint and sad, sometimes it’s loud and overflowing with life.

And that’s a good thing!