I suppose that's true. She did make me who I am today.
I found myself sitting here this morning over my steaming cup of tea, texting my wonderful amazing loving mother in law (that I often feel like I'm hijacking as a surrogate mom from Vandal) and trying desperately to think of one single good memory of my mother. A time when she brushed my hair, or soothed a hurt, or gave me good advice, or taught me how to do something... and there just aren't any. Not even one. Maybe they are in there. Perhaps, if I watched my life as an outsider watching a film reel I'd be able to freeze frame a moment and go - a ha! That one. That one will do just fine. - but I'm not, and any possible kindnesses were overwhelmed and buried beneath cruelty.
I remember being terrified of her as a child.
Laying awake at night in the kitchen floor on my little pile of blankets that I called a bed at night, trying to soothe myself to sleep after another day of torment, likely to the sounds of my parents screaming and fighting one room over.
I remember her throwing away my things, if and when I had any, because anything I had belonged to her.
I remember eating off the floor because I wasn't behaving the way she would've wanted.
I remember her starving us for days as punishment.
I remember her sitting on my chest and pouring dish soap in my mouth.
I remember her cutting off all my long hair because she was angry with me.
I remember her beating me every single day until my skin bled leaving me with triangular little scars like the rivets in the belt she wore.
I remember her laughing and calling me a whore and a liar when I tearfully told her that a grown man had abused my five year old body...
Maybe I shouldn't try and seek out a good memory today. Sifting through them causes me too much pain.
She was a time bomb. I never knew what was coming next. I walked on eggshells every day, my entire life wrapped around her moods so that I might anticipate how she'd react so that I could protect myself.
I prayed that my parents would die, that someone would take me away from them, that I would die.
But none of those things ever came.
She hit me for the last time when I was 17. I told her it would be the last time, and for her to enjoy it, because another opportunity would never come.
I kept that promise to myself.
And she's still out there being a bad mother in the only way that she can now.
She tells people that I'm a disappointment. She tells people I'm a bad mother... that I'm failing my daughter. She tells people that I don't honor her and give her forgiveness in the way that I am supposed to. On the day of my wedding she called to tell me she knocked a nest full of baby birds to the ground, and that they'd die, and it'd be all my fault.
So today, I'm not celebrating Mothers Day in the way that I'm expected. For the first time, I won't make that expected visit or call. I won't buy some trinket or card so that I can get through the day without a drama. And I'll be goddamned if I'll forgive or forget. I don't have to. I don't owe it to her. I won't.
What I can do, and will, is go on being a good mom. I know I screw up sometimes. Parenting is at best an experiment in day to day failures - but I love my daughter, and I am always willing to tell her when I've made a mistake. I love her more than my own life and I'd never ever let her down by taking that for granted. Shes amazing, and wonderful, and I hope that she continues driving me crazy for many many years to come.
I can break the cycle.