She grew up happy-go-lucky, spoiled, shy. She had an imagination that was infinite, with a kaleidoscope of ideas and thoughts on creativity and just plain fun.
She was the youngest of two daughters of parents that were there for her. Her father helped her with her homework when he was home.
Her mother and her were very close.
Her family moved around a lot because of her father’s job, and making friends was more difficult than ever. Her shyness was painful. It would take her several months to make friends, the one that never spoke first.
A tomboy through grade school and into high school, she had a lot of confidence playing whatever sport was provided in PE, or in her neighborhood streets. The shyness she felt evaporated in those moments. But at school, it clung to her like a blood-sucking leech.
She hated school, and her grades began to plummet in junior high and continued through her senior year of high school.
The bond between her mother and her started to fray in junior high school and throughout her adult years. At the same time she was bullied in junior high, made fun of, with hurtful words that dug into her very being and stayed there for twenty-five years, her mother added to the hurt.
Teens and parents have their clashes, but this did not happen between her and her father. He continued to help her in high school and support her, encouraged her to keep making an effort in her school work.
Eventually, after much verbal abuse for twenty plus years, she finally distanced herself from her mother, which was okayed and advised by her priest.
It took her over twenty-five years to realize she wasn’t stupid and that she was worth something.
So, when harsh words were said to her in the usual way they were, she learned to let it roll off of her, not allowing it to penetrate her heart.
Since then, for the most part, her relationship with her mother had become stabilized and seemed cordial. There were moments where glimpses of the mother she knew when she was a young girl peeked through like a hole in a cave that let in a pinpoint of sunlight, when there was true warmth and lovingness between her mother and her.
But sometimes, that indifference shield would slip, and the attacks would strike, and she would feel the pain, but not in the same way she had as a teen or younger adult.
She would keep her mouth closed and let the mean words pass because she knew that’s just how her mother was.
However, the shield slipped again within the last twenty-four hours, and she wondered if she wanted to make the effort to talk to her mother again. A couple of her mother’s comments were, as usual, mean, and she nearly said something mean back to her. But she kept her mouth shut. Figured it would cause more trouble to retort in a similar fashion than to just let the insults go.
Does this still make her that young teenaged girl who took the verbal attacks and believed everything her mother said to be the truth about her? That she was selfish, she was stupid, she was scatterbrained, she wouldn’t make anything out of her life.
She knew now, after two years of therapy and graduating from college, that she was not stupid or scatterbrained. That she had made something of her life in taking care of her two sons and working at being a decent wife to her husband, and striving toward a closer relationship with God. That she wasn’t totally selfish, although, sometimes she was. Was there anyone that wasn’t at least a tiny bit?
However, she wasn’t and isn’t all those insulting and hurtful descriptions.
Between pride and low self-esteem, it is a challenge. And she tries hard to be the person God created her to be. To cooperate with His will, to become transformed into a true human being sharing the Light and Love of Christ.
Sometimes it feels like she’s in a hamster wheel, getting nowhere on this spiritual journey, but she won’t give up.
As she has in the last decade, she will continue to show kindness to her mother and keep the protective shield over her heart whenever the stinging arrows of harsh words fly toward her.
After all, she loves her mother, no matter what. Loves her sister and father. She will always be a part of them.