This is not a politically correct post – but then I am a politically incorrect person who has lived a topsy turvy life – so you can’t expect me to be prim and proper, and only talk about socially accepted issues.
I got a call yesterday from a friend of mine and we talked late into the night. This lady has grown up children and a husband …. and she was depressed because her mother was coming to live with her for a week. She is uncomfortable because her mother has always shown her disapproval of the kind of person this lady is. Now, this lady is over 45 years of age, well educated, has a good career and has raised and educated her children who are decent kids.
A very young colleague of mine was widowed last year. She moved in with her parents (which I had thought was a big mistake) and now hates her mother completely. Her mother finds fault with everything she does, and then snoops into her cellphone, mail box and even her accounts. She has bought herself a flat and is planning to shift during Dussehra. Her parents are fuming because they hate the idea of a 30 year old woman living alone with her children.
The closest bond in a family is perhaps the mother and daughter bond. A bittersweet relationship, it goes through many ups and downs but you know that no matter how much you fight, when you have to face the world, you will be one! Some mothers and daughters like me are not so lucky though. They end up with strained relationships, which either get resolved years later or never at all!
Mothers are very critical of their daughters and tend to be relaxed and easy going with their sons. My mother would criticise my cooking, my weight, my choice in clothes, the way I talked, sat and walked. She would openly talk about the bad choices I made in life (given the life I’ve lived, I sure made it easy for her heh!) with every one including my sons, colleagues, friends and even my maid. We were at war most of the time with a bit of uneasy truce thrown in. At first she gave me hell for getting married (she was absolutely right). She blessed us only when I was smart enough(?) to have a son. Dont ask me, I still havent understood how my brain got involved in the process. Humph. Any way ….. and then she gave me hell for my divorce. She pushed/cajoled/bulied me and ex into having the second baby, knowing fully well that the marriage was breaking up. She used tears …. we had lost a young boy (my brother) and we needed more family members etc etc. Afterwards she blamed me for having two kids and then leaving them to go and work. I had to – who would feed them? She lived with me for the last 12 years of her life, in which I supported/funded … whatever ……. and she was never grateful or even decent about it. It hurt her ego as a parent to acknowledge that her daughter could be capable of supporting a family. Especially the daughter who, in her opinion, was a disaster. Her basic tragedy was that her son died and her daughter lived. She said it very openly in the first few months after my brother’s death … and then showed it in countless petty ways later. I guess she would have been able to make her son dance to her whims – her daughter she never understood or approved of, and so could not manipulate. Bullying never worked with me ever ….
Why is it that some parents do not realise that the umblical cord is cut at birth. The child you give birth to is not a mindless clone or puppet to ape you or dance to your tune. He/she is another person with ideas, dreams, drives that can be very different from yours. Why is it that some parents never realise that all the child actually needs is parental approval of his/her worth as a person and unconditional love and understanding. Some parents withhold their approval of the major decisions in their childrens’ lives i.e. the choice of career and the choice of mate. Many young people do get married or pursue their chosen path inspite of all that. It creates such a big wedge in the relationship. Who ever gave parents the idea that they own their children dammit? We are at the best guardians, and at the least caretakers of these young people who share their lives with us. We as parents are blessed to have these young people sharing their energetic and vibrant selves with us for a part of their lives.
Dont get me wrong, my mother was a very nice lady. She was an excellent home maker, great cook, a very affectionate and caring grandmother and had tremendous leadership qualities. In another age, she would have been upper management in some corporate set up. Her problem was that she never realised that I was not her clone and would never be so. She also could not accept the fact that women can live a perfectly respectable and healthy life without a husband and that divorce does not automatically make a woman cheap.
There was a movie starring Rekha called Khoobsurat. The mother (Dina Pathak) in that movie reminded me of my mother.