Years ago, before my divorce, my mother was my closest friend. We talked every day, for at least an hour. When I taught school, I had a commute. I called her every single day and she kept me company through it.
I couldn’t even tell you what we talked about. When I think about it now, it seems insane that we had an hours worth of stuff to talk about every single day, but we did.
After my divorce, I started dating a man my mom didn’t approve of, and after yelling at me a lot, she decided to cut me off completely. No calls, no texts, not even on my birthday.
This was hard for me, because not only did I lose my mother, I lost my best friend.
At first, I tried to fix it with her. I would call and she’d hang up on me. I’d text and ask her if we could be best friends again only to receive a string of expletives back about my boyfriend.
Despite my mom’s objections, he eventually became my husband. It’s been several years, and now I don’t text her at all. For a while, after we first married, she’d send me a text now and then telling me how my choice in husband had ruined her family and her life.
I eventually blocked her. And I kept it that way until she got sick. She ended up in the hospital with double kidney infections, delirious and in pain.
I was on my way to the airport. About to fly to Punta Cana. My grandmother called me and gave me the news.
So, I did what any good daughter would do. I went straight to the hospital and sat quietly outside her room until finally they decided she was calm enough to see me.
She ended up recovering completely, but I spent that entire day in the hospital. Oh, and that husband she hates so much? He spent 16 hours downstairs in the lobby.
To this day, she still doesn’t know that. When I walked to the end of the hall and came back with a big bucket of chicken, everyone in the room assumed I’d had it delivered. But no, that was my husband who took care of that for me.
I thought maybe things would get back to normal when she got out of the hospital. I thought maybe we’d bonded again, but I was wrong. I tried texting, and even a couple of phone calls but they were ignored.
When my daughter got sick, I called her from the car on the way to the hospital. I was so scared. I needed my best friend.
“Mom,” I said, holding my daughter’s hand while we sat together in the back seat of the car. Her father and step-father were in the front. “We are on our way to the hospital now. They’re admitting her and she’s having surgery.”
Her response? “Is your $&@/ of a husband there? Because I’m not showing up if he—”
I hung up the phone. I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why I thought she’d be there for me. Offer me support.
She’d yelled so loud at me through the phone that my husband, ex-husband, and daughter all heard.
“She’s not coming?” My daughter asked. She was already so scared. The tears were already in her eyes.
Her stepdad answered, “Kiddo, I can take off if you want her there.”
He didn’t want to make her choose. He hates making her choose.
“No. I need you there.” She had to choose anyway.
And so I didn’t call her back after that. She texted a few times through the surgery and sent a nice balloon, but she never showed up. Not even in the days that followed when we sat in that hospital room.
The funny thing is, the children’s hospital was actually closer to my mom’s house than mine.
And that’s when I knew it was over. I don’t think there’s anything she could do now to fix what she’s broken. I don’t know how to forgive that.
Now? Now I’m raising a daughter she hardly knows. One she loved with all her heart and saw as often as possible. Sometimes my daughter and I talk about it. About how much we miss her. But neither of us is willing to give up my husband, her stepdad in order to get her back.
Over the last five years he’s become really important to us. To our lives.
I hate that for my daughter. I hate that for me.
I miss my mom every single day. I had thought she would come around eventually, but now I know that it isn’t going to happen.
And so it’s up to me to just keep living my best life. Even if it is without her.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my hefty therapy bill, it’s that she’s supposed to like me for me, and it shouldn’t be based on my choice of partner.
If she can’t do that, then it’s on her. Not me. At least that’s what all the therapists say, anyway. But that doesn’t make it any easier.