Thursday, November 15, 2007

My mother

My mom's "Millennial Teddy Bears"
This is going to be a long post, just thought I'd let you know upfront so you can run now!

Sometimes as we go through life, we are fortunate enough to learn important lessons along the way. Sometimes, they are lessons learned, sadly, too late.
Such is my life. Lessons I have learned have been both harsh, and illuminating.

The most important lesson I learned was how to love my mother.
My mother will be the first to tell anyone that she was NOT the best mother. She had a hard life, in and out of boarding schools, abused at a vulnerable age by her step father, and then abandoned by her mother when she refused to face the truth about the man she was married to, my mother had to fend for herself- something she was not good at.

Married young to my father, the both of them clueless about parenting, she went through life without the necessary skills required for the most basic of parenting. Not good at coping with stress, she took out her anger and feelings of helplessness on her children. My sister and I being the most likely targets. She is 14 years older than I, and when I was eight- she got married and left, never to return. I remember crying at her wedding, because I knew with her gone, it would be so much worse for me...

Often, I was jealous. Mom had these 'adopted' children all over the neighborhood who came to her for advice and love. I felt like I was really the adopted one. I was embarrased to have my friends over, and one time I lost a friend due to my mother and her behavior. Couldn't these other 'children' see it? Of course not, because she was a completely different person with them than she was with me.

Life in our home was hard, it was filled with anger, and frustration. My father left when I was 11 and my little brother was only five. He said that my brother's disability was too hard to handle. Then he married a woman with seven children...

My mother fell completely apart after he left. As if things weren't bad before he left, now there was no buffer between my mother and her children.
Jamey got the best of mom. For some reason, his disability brought out the best in her. She fought for him to receive a good education, and learned everything she could about Autism. Her energy was expended in a positive way.
When I was little, all I could think of was, 'what did I do?' when she would go off. I tried to be a good girl, and was meek and mild. After the abuse that happened to me at age nine, I was a different child. I started drinking at age 13, and by 15 was an alcoholic. It was a great way to get away from everything.

I wasn't exactly the perfect teenager, that's certain. I was wayward, and defiant. After I got big enough, I would fight back (never physically), I certainly was not going to just sit back and take it anymore.
I remember being terrified of my mother, even at age 16 she could get me to cower in a corner...

I left home when I was 16, worked full time outside of the home, and only went back home at age 18 for a place to keep my stuff.
Life was hard between my mother and I, and I blamed her for a lot of things. Certainly the physical and mental abuse was something we could never get over, and I resigned myself to the fact that we would never have a relationship beyond civility.

Then, I got sober. I got married shortly after, and got pregnant right away. Life took on a new perspective, and I realized I was going to be a mother, but I had no idea how to be one. I only knew I didn't want to be like my mother was. I took parenting classes, and went back to church.
But something was missing. It was my mother.

Long story short?
My Father in Heaven changed my heart, and He made it possible for me to forgive my mother over time, and to be able to reforge a relationship with her that at this time I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Mom also learned some new things, how to accept responsibility, to not try and guilt me into anything, and how to heal some of her own wounds.

This is, needless to say, the highly abridged version of our relationship. Just to set the tone for my experience this past week.
Mom needed to have gallbladder surgery, and at age 76, she isn't the spring chicken she used to be. So I made arrangments to go and be with her to help her the Tuesday she went in. I was going to leave Wednesday, and come home. My daughter decided to stay with her to help her.
As I spent time there, I realized something profound. My mother is getting old.
She isn't going to be around forever, and there will come a time when I will not have her in my life anymore.

This scared me to death. I stayed until Thursday, then went home, crying all the way. Then I went back Saturday morning, and came home Monday, crying some more. I didn't want to leave her. She lives about 2 1/2 hours away, and with the ranch here, I am pretty tied down.
I am so glad I had the time to spend with her, and I can't wait to see her again.

While I was there, I met someone pretty special. His name is Teddy, and here is his story, as written by my mother.

Bears on a shelf in the "Teddy Bear Room"

Hi, my name is Teddy, and this is my story.

Where am I? The last thing I remember, I was sitting on a pretty pink bed, playing with my little girl. Then things changed fast. People came in the middle of the night, and I heard the words, "very sick, hospital" and my little girl's mommy was crying.

Several days go by, there is a big black car outside taking my girl's mommy and daddy away. The house is very quiet for a long time, I have no one to hold me or love me. The next thing I know I'm in a big box with my friends. We all used to play with my litle girl. Now I am in this strange place with all kinds of different toys, but my friends are gone.

I hear words like, "Sell all the toys, and everything else." So I wait to see what selling us meant.

A little boy says he wants to buy a train, laughing, he went away with his train. A little girl says she wants a doll, her mommy bought it for her and she was laughing.

Now I understand! We were here to make people happy! So I sat up straight, as straight as my bent legs could be, and I waited, and I waited. All around me toys weregoing home to their new families, except for me.

The next thing I knew, I was at the bottom of the pile of toys, standing on my head! No one could buy me while I was upside down, they couldn't see how cute I was!

Then I felt something pulling on my leg, I heard, "Hello Teddy, what are you doing under all these toys?"

I got a big hug, and my new mistress said, "I have never had a teddy bear before. Now I do, because you are going home with me.

Now the lady squeezed me again, then she laughed! And I said to myself, I like this, I could get used to this loving very easily.

We got into something called a car, and she said, "You are going to be my co-pilot now, and we can be with each other all the time."

I have been her friend, and her companion, and get hugs just about every day, and I have a permanent place on her bed. And the best part is I am giving love to a lonely woman, cause my new mistress is 76 years young!

I have been all over the place with her, for 25 years! I have loads of new friends, here are some pictures of them, they have their very own room, called the Teddy Bear room. But I get to sleep with mommy! So, I heard about this B.t. Bear Esquire, and I thought I'd share some pictures with him. There are several 'not-a-bears' who live here too, but our bearyness is rubbing off on them, I can tell!

If you look close, you will see how my legs are just perfectly porportioned so as to sit on my mommy's hip and hug her. Perfect!

Here I am surrounded by my new friends in the bear room!
One of the beary nice shelves.
Mr. Genteel Bear.
I hope you enjoyed my story!
I love you mom, and I'm glad you were a lesson I learned- before it was too late.


B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Oh my goodness!!
A...A....A.....A TEDDY BEAR ROOM!!!!!!

Oh my!

WOW!!!!!!!! They must hav so much fun in there! I bet they hav lots ov frolickin!


Oh boy. Wow. carm down... got messidge for yu...

oh yes..

Mummy sed she had lots ov bad stuff in her parst too, an at aige nine like yu too, an she yewst to be scared ov her Mummy as well, an she wassent treeted well she waz treeted badly. But Granny, her mummy, well wen Granny waz littol she waz left in a narsty children's home. It waz run by nuns an sumwun rote a book abowt the sayme playse larst yeer, but Mummy won't let me see it cos she sez it's too sad an bad. But so Granny dident hav love wen she waz littol either, so she dident kno how to giv it.

But Mummy an her, they're like best frends now an Granny haz lots ov Bears. I think maybe Bears bring owt the best in peepol, an mayke up fer not havin been hugged. It's cos we Bears ar good at hugs an lissnin an stuff.

WOW a whole Bear Room.

I shall hav to come an stay! Wa-heyyy!


Rachelle said...

Dear b.t.,
Wa-heyyy! Your mum and I have a lot in common, don't we?

I got to sleep in the Bear Room, cuz there's a bed in there for humans, and I thought of you each night before I turned off the light.
I thought how you would LOVE this room!

I am so glad that your mum and I both have mommys again. Give your mummy a big nose hug- from me, okay? :))

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

You have travelled so far, my sweet Rachelle, and your insight is razor-sharp. I am glad you have sought to make peace with your mother, because it's only then that you can begin to have peace with yourself.

Understanding is key; it doesn't alter the past, nor does it make it right, but it can soothe the wounds if we can rationally see why these things happened. I was only angry with my mother after she committed suicide. I didn't dare allow myself to get mad at her when she was alive, I was always trying to win her love. It took me by surprise when all this bad gunk came teeming out, my grief and anger was overwhelming. She landed herself in intensive care on the day I gave birth to my firstborn.

It took a long time for me to forgive and understand why she was the way she was, and when I did, I felt such a relief, a great weight lifted. It felt good.

There are many damaged souls out there, Some of them have children. You survived that. I think you are amazing, you have purposefully chosen to learn how to love, and your own dear, sweet children are a true testimony to that. ((huge hugs))

ps. You've been tagged (enough of this deep stuff!)

Catmoves said...

Rachelle, it's very impressive, very heart warming and I know a lot of people (men and women) who would shed tears of self recognition over much of this posting. Thank you.



Rachelle said...

Hi Shrinky,
Well, you've made me blush!
Certainly it isn't me that is special, I was just blessed with the right spirit at the right time I think.
The spirit of survival, and forgiveness.

Oh yea, and lots, and lots, and lots of therapy, HA!
I had a wonderful therapist once who told me that forgiving isn't forgetting, but remembering with peace.
I never forgot that. It really helped when it was time to dig all this junk up. That and not having to know every single detail of every wrong ever done to me, ya know what I mean?

You are amazing my friend!

Rachelle said...

Dear Catmoves,
Hmmm.... do I hear a big "but" in there somewhere? LOL- I have one of those myself you know.

I know there are so many people who have been hurt beyond repair by their parent(s) and that there is no way back to a loving relationship.
I salute them, because they did it on their own, and that makes them very brave.

I read the book 'Toxic Parents' a long time ago, it takes a lot to be able to see past the past, maybe the hardest thing to do in life- it certainly is the hardest thing to overcome in mine.
Slainte my friend!
Ps- yes, I think "Narya" has something to do with fire- it was the ring that Gandalf wore, and it was red- how in the world did you fond that out??? You sleuth you.

Easybreathingfella said...

Amazing, what a post, you've got all the BEAR essentials.

I'll say sorry now but I have tagged you (see my Post and have a go)

Best regards

silfiriel said...

A mom/teddy loving story...I liked it.
It's funny how no matter whether we have good parents or bad parents we end up learning important lessons from them. But you gotta be a smart one to do so...

sandyshares said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this . I was never close to my mother and late in life accepted her for the very strict judgemental person she is . But just lately she turned on me big time, I think she is influenced by other relatives and old age. I forgive her, but am terribly hurt. Bottom lin eis I love her undonditionally and somewhere in that heart i think she does too. Your bears heartwarming. Hi to Narya and the gang ready for another walk

Dilly said...

Dilly luv Dilly mummy.
Sumtime Bob tell Dilly "Mummy be Bob's Mummy ferst!"
But be Dilly's mummy too!

Bear room smell ov bears?
Dilly not like!

Goin get dwagon room?
Get dwagon room!


Rachelle said...

Dear Easy,
(oh-ho-ho, but are you easy, my friend? *wink-wink)

A pun!!! I LOVE it!!!!
Thanks, I was thinking I didn't really like the way I wrote this one. You know, sometimes you *got* it and some times you don't, I felt like I don't got it, er.... you know what I mean.
The bear room, for a long time I just thought my mom's 'collections' were weird, but now I understand so much more about why she has them and what they mean to her.

A lost childhood, how do you make up for that? I'm still trying to figure THAT one out.

Rachelle said...

Oh boy, I've been tagged twice!!!
I hope you all used a good color, I hate it when I get tagged with lime green spraypaint....

Rachelle said...

Dear Silfiriel,
Yes, that's true huh?
I am glad I learned some good stuff!

Yipes, I have been so heavy lately, I've got to lighten up!!
What shall I write about my friend?

Rachelle said...

I am so glad to see you! I couldn't find the link that works to your site. I will check this one on your name today.

It is funny how we grow up, isn't it?
I mean, I was responsible for my mother getting herself into therapy. Isn't that a little backwards?? LOL

I'm the chain breaker in my family I guess.

Rachelle said...

Dear Dilly,
Well, the Bear Room doesn't smell bad, but it is a bit stuffy in there! Ha-ha!

She doesn't have any dragons that I know of.... hmmmm... oh yea! She has a small figurine of the dragon from Sleeping Beauty!
But no stuffed ones.
I'll mention that to her, maybe she can start a collection of those!
Thanks for visiting, and I know your mummy loves you very much.
Mummys can love more than one child just the same!

Rachelle said...

Snady, where's your blog???
I can't find it!

Rachelle said...

Oy..... Sandy, not Snady.....

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Oh Lor! Dilly's bin over heer!

Enyway. RACHELLE! RACHELLE! GESS WAT! Weer goin to see sum llamas an alpacas this Sunday! An an an... an... Phytheas is goin too, so weer goin to meet! Issent it exsytin? I think my bum mite berst!


it's the little things... said...

Gosh Rachelle, I swear we have lived such a similar life that I am grateful we have found each other on the net.
My mother is also 76, and having surgeries, and I'm seeing that she is old. It is horrible.
But it has also forced me to finally cross that line and see her for the victim of her own childhood too, and forgive her, really and truly.
Carol is right. Only upon that forgiveness can we move on.

silfiriel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
silfiriel said...

hey rachelle
this is off topic, but I posted some pics of my PC desk, I made the desk myself and I am very, very proud of it. It's the coolest thing ever...

Rachelle said...

Help!!!! Blogger monsters are eating my comments!!!!!

Help me...... argh *muffled screams*

Anonymous said...

(sniff) I miss my Mother.

*HUGS* and *Nose Hugs* to all the bears.

Anonymous said...

Rachelle, that must have cost you a lot, puting all that down in writing, by the way that you seemed to skim accross the surface. Love you girl, I lost my mother when she was 61, but she is still with me, and she comes with me wherever I am. My father died when he was 66, thankfully he stays where he is and doesn't bother me anymore. I am grateful.
Rachelle do you get to see the posts before they are published because I would love to give you my email address. Cozmic!!

Rachelle said...

Dear Chewy,
:(( I am sorry!
That's my message here, love before it's too late.
(ginormous hugs)

Rachelle said...

My friend, how I've MISSED you!
Here is mine, I don't care- seeing as how we are a business, it isn't hard to get mine! LOL

Hope to talk to you soon,
*doing the happy dance*

david mcmahon said...

I've only just seen this post and it's magnificent.

Rachelle said...

Wow David, I'm blushing!
That means a lot to me, thank you.

Everyone! Have a Blessed and safe Thanksgiving!

indicaspecies said...

Hi Rachelle

Yes, forgiving isn't forgetting, but remembering with peace. This is a poignant post with a beautiful message.

Reached here through David's Authorblog. Thanks for sharing your experience.


Jeni said...

Beautiful post! David McMahon sent me over and as is always the case, his recommendation held true. I can relate very much to your feelings toward your mother and loved the Teddy Bear story.

Catmoves said...

Rachelle, no "buts" intended. It was a sincere comment.
As for knowing this stuff, I thought you would know that cats remember everything and know where to look for information. We can smell it out. >)~..^(<

Rachelle said...

Dear Silfiriel,
That is the coolest desk I have ever seen! I used to have a lamp, it was huge, and made out of burl wood with coral 'mushroom' shaped pieces, it totally rocked.
Your desk reminded me of that!
Too bad you live ont he other side of the planet, you could make me one!

Rachelle said...

Dear India,
Thanks for visiting me! And thank you for the kind words, I think that saying found a place in my heart and just stayed there.
See you again soon!

Rachelle said...

Dear Jeni,
Thank you for leaving me a comment!
And thanks for visiting me :))
See you again I hope!

Rachelle said...

Dear Catmoves,
Ah, you are too wily for me, I'm going to have to figure out a way to stump you.... hmmmmm....
Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

ancient one said...

Came over from Dave's. This post is powerful. Thanks for sharing!

Rachelle said...

Hi there Ancient one!
I am off to visit your blog, I love making new friends, see you soon!
And, thank you for reading!

Sherée said...

Hiya, Rachélle!

I'm one of your Mom's "adopted children" of the neighborhood... remember? :o) I'm sooo sorry you felt the way you did back then... I truly wish you would have talked to me about this long before now... since we were best friends for so many years, growing up together... Will you PLEASE Email me privately at my regular Email address and fill me in on what happened to you when you were 9, that you keep talking about, that apparently I have no clue about what happened? You'd think of all people, I would know about this, but I don't... please Email me, Sweetie, ok? I'll be looking for your Email. I loved this post about you and your Mom... and I'm glad there's resolution here... I know it wasn't easy coming to the resolution part, my friend... but I'll bet it feels SO much better than it did before, to both of you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Love Always, and GOD BLESS,

Rachelle said...

Hi Sheree,
I never considered you one of the 'adopted ones', you were just my friend my dear.
I was talking more along the lines of Katie and Lori and the kids of that age group that were around while I was younger.

I don't know if I can tell you what happened, I thought you knew...
I will have to do that in person, I can't do it in writing.
We will have to meet for dinner or something after the New Year, okay?
Thanks for visiting me! :))
Merry Christmas to you too!

tiger said...


Anonymous said...