SOME WOMEN ARE LUCKY. They talk to their mother every day. They go shopping or on trips with their mother. They make special meals. Share garden plants, books, recipes, jokes. Some mothers and daughters have a very special bond--a combination of family and friendship, blood and water if you will.
I'm not one of those women. I don't have a bond with my mother. For reasons I've never understood, the bond just isn't there and never has been. Fortunately I have a close relationship with my sister. She and I have spent a lot of time commiserating and exploring the reasons why our mother was never a mother and the emotional scars we deal with because of this.
Linda Joy Myers is another of the unlucky women. She grew up with a mother who was unavailable emotionally and physically. Her memoir Don't Call Me Mother chronicles her life from earliest recollections onward. Train stations, waiting... Hoping that the sight of her mother would erase the accumulation of doubts, longings and hurts.
A mysterious liaison exists between Linda's mother and grandmother. When Linda's mother is unable or unwilling to care for little Linda, grandmother takes over but the job is fraught with her own inner turmoils. The result is that Linda spends her childhood being abused in ways that no child should ever have to endure.
Today, Linda is a vibrant woman with a gift for writing and encouraging others. And more importantly she has broken the chain of mother-daughter abandonment that spans several previous generations. She is a fully-engaged mother of her two grown children. I applaud Linda for sharing her story. How she was able to turn her turmoil into triumph is inspiring.
This book sounds like an interesting read Grace...though it is not one I could relate to. My mother was always there for me through thick and thin. In fact, it was the agony we both went through her last years on earth that enticed me to write my memoir.ReplyDelete
I still consider my five children to be my greatest accomplishments and greatly admire what wonderful parents they became.
For years I was desperate to meet someone who shared my experiences of abandonment. I suppose for some confirmation that I wasn't the morally reprehnsible one. I've found saying negative statements about my mother makes people really uncomfortable. "How can you say such things about your mother" in shocked tones, shuts me down pretty quickly. 'Well, maybe because its true' I think to myself. Not sure I will read this book, I have come to terms with my past and don't like to awaken painful memories. However I salute Linda for her courage in sharing her story, and raise a glass of champagne in her honour for breaking the cycle.ReplyDelete
I have seen this book and wondered if it would be "triggering" for me. I have a rocky relationship with my mother. But the way you describe the book makes me think I might enjoy it. It's wonderful that Myers broke the cycle with her own children.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the review.
I always like a book recommendation so thank you for that. My mother probably thinks we have a good relationship, but she never really made me feel valued as a child. Now I mostly grit my teeth through the phone calls or visits. I have set some boundaries. Not that she respects them but I try. Thank God for sisters, I have a wonderful sister too.ReplyDelete
I know we are given these burdens to bring our strength and life lessons to the forefront to help us grow...that said, it is hard when we have these burdens. My mom grew up without a mother and made sure she was there for her children. I know I am very lucky and grateful for my mom. I have one sister I am close to and one I am not. Ironically the one I am not is the one who calls to talk through her life crises.ReplyDelete
Man, it is so hard to break destructive cycles. I'm looking forward to reading Linda's memoir, as *how* the cycle was broken is something I've been really interested in lately.ReplyDelete
Grace, you have captured the essence of Linda Joy's book! As a daughter who wished for the mother described in your first paragraph, I know the sense of the continual "why doesn't she love me" questions and the feelings of loss and abandonment. That Linda Joy has turned this cruel hurt around and is such an engaged mom today is amazing. She is a gift to all of us who write memoir! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on her book - beautifully done!ReplyDelete