Tag Archive | family

Easy Life?

Who said life was easy?

My mother died when I was a teenager. Many years have passed but I’m still learning about her, not from family or friends. When she married my father she distanced herself from the only friend she had and there is no family.

My mother is still a mystery to me. I discovered many things about her after her death, through letters and legal documents. Photos revealed a woman who was a far cry from the old-fashioned, prim and proper mother I knew.

Writing has helped me sort out my feelings and offered perspective. Friends never understand how I’ve forgiven her for the miserable childhood  I had.

As a mother I’ve struggled to understand the hows and the whys. I also missed the special bond most mothers and daughters have when a grandchild is born. Knowing this would not have happened didn’t lessen the void. Seeing friends with their mothers sometimes hurt.

Life is a long path of recognition and learning. Not so long ago, it finally dawned on me that more than having just grown up in difficult circumstances, my mother was suffering from a mental illness.

It all came clear to me that morning. Why did I never even suspect it? I was raised not to question things, but I did. I kept it all to myself. But my mother, well, I was so afraid of her. She was so strong, indomitable.

All the crazy spells, smiling and screaming the next minute, throwing a basin full of water at me in public, trashing my room in the middle of night while raving.

Still, I didn’t click. Because for years I lived with guilt, like many children who have suffered abuse, I thought it all my fault. I was conditioned to believe everything that happened was somehow my fault. It’s not easy shaking those labels.

Her son from a previous marriage is schizophrenic. I wasn’t told this until after she had died. It was not something my mother wanted known, another secret under the carpet. I didn’t even find out he was my half-brother until I was 12. He terrorized me through my childhood. I remember my mother taking him to this centre, it was only years later that I learned what this centre was.

So here I am, all these years later, proud mummy to my gorgeous children. Who said life was easy? But one thing is for sure, you learn something every day, and with love you cannot go wrong.

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After I had nowhere left to hide

 

My mother had a habit of squirrelling money away, not that she really needed to, it was her safety net. When she died,it caused my father a huge headache, trying to trace all her different accounts, some active, others not.

She wasn’t materialistic and never spent much on herself, when she did, she’d hide the fact or felt obliged to justify herself. In some ways, I am a little bit like that too but I think it’s all too common for mums in general.

She did once tell me the story of how when her grandmother was dying, she told my mum where she  had hidden her little nest egg and she wanted her to have it. My mother, being a dutiful daughter told her mother who promptly took it all away.

My mother was at the time married to a violent man. He beat her up whilst pregnant with her son.In those days, divorce was much frowned upon. Eventually, despite her hopes of  ever happy family, she came to the conclusion that she would have to leave.

She was a formidable woman, not the kind you can push around easily, she was also very strong-willed and stubborn, it runs in the family, on the women side anyway.

It goes to show abuse knows no boundaries or classes.

My mother came from a very well to do family, her divorce was seen a complete disgrace. She struggled to raise her son without any help, her own wealthy parents never lifting a finger.

By the time she met my father, she’d done well for herself and had some security. She never fully trusted my father, even though they had a child together, yes, me.

I always remember her telling me that when I married, I was to hide all assets and not share everything I owned.

Sadly, she never did get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work and savings, she became very ill and died when I was a teenager. I watched her becoming very weak, a shadow of herself, yet, she could still terrify everybody, myself included.

I’m not materialistic at all and dislike talking or even thinking about money. I’m not a great spender either but do enjoy splashing out on my children.

When it comes to trust, I could not live with someone I didn’t trust wholly and completely. I’m not just talking about money but much more than that, this deep knowledge that you are loved and respected.

Friends who know my background have often wondered how I could talk about my mother in a positive way after the childhood I had. Well, first of all, she was my mother and I loved her, growing up, I didn’t know any different.

Piecing it altogether, I can reflect on the fact she also had an unhappy childhood and she endured many struggles. Her illness and subsequent death were an almighty shock.

The more I grew in myself, the more I understood her and how difficult life had been for her at times.

Even after all these years, I still think of her and understand a little more all the time. There are many things I wish I could tell her as an adult and no longer the frightened little girl I was.

When I became a mum myself I watched friends with their mums feeling a little pang, we wouldn’t have had that sort of relationship, I know but…

I strive to do the best I can for my children. Nothing else matters more to me than being a loving mum with happy and well-balanced children.No achievement of any kind could prevail over this.

I’m the lucky one, I broke the vicious circle in my family, friends will know what I’m talking about. No matter what happens in your past, you can change and prevent history from being repeated.

First I ran, found myself and when I had nowhere left to hide I confronted my past.

 

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Auld lang syne!

Happy New Year!

I’m afraid I’ve not been around much lately. I haven’t been well and have concentrated on writing and family. It’s funny how no matter how ill I become, I’m still able to churn out the words. In fact I’ve never been so productive. Yes, I have finished another novel and have already started on a new one.

I spare a thought for all the people who are not so  lucky, who might not have a family to turn to or who might not have a roof over their heads. Holidays time can be a painful reminder of the loved ones we have lost or the bad turns life throws at us. We have to keep going however difficult it might seem. There will come a time when we will find ourselves happy and cheerful again, when we’re able to turn the page.

All the best for a happy and healthy new year.


Don’t mess with a mum!

Today was a shocker. You think you’re safe, you do everything you can to protect your family and then something happens…

Two guys broke into our property in broad daylight. They had a ladder and forced part of our fence. I was still lying in bed, cuddling my son when I heard footsteps around the house.

While we called the police, I screamed at them and fortunately for us they fled. They probably thought the house was empty.

As you can imagine, I was very angry but as soon as peace had been restored I was shaking like a leaf. I know we were lucky but I still felt violated.

I have a strong issue with safety, having lived in fear for many years, some of you will know why. The dear one knows this and has always endeavoured to make me feel safe.

I need my haven, the place I can retreat to, away from it all. I need the gates that keep unwanted visitors away. I need to know my children are safe when they play in our garden.

And yes, I know, we can never be completely safe but I’ll give it a damn good try. My children, though very scared, were very proud of their Mummy. I roared like a lion. Don’t mess with a protective mum!

https://elleamberley.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/living-in-fear/

The “Fake” Family Tree (via Monica’s Tangled Web)

The "Fake" Family Tree It was the kind of homework assignment a self-conscious Latina dreaded most. Picture if you will, 1964. LBJ is in the White House. Muhammad Ali beats Sonny Liston and is crowned heavyweight champion of the world. The Beatles make their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. And me? I’m in Queens, attending school at P.S. 154, sitting in the second row of Mrs. Green’s third grade class. Oh, and I’m sweating bullets. For Mrs. Green, my third grade tea … Read More

via Monica’s Tangled Web

Staying at home with the kids

A post in response to my friend Peryl’s post :

” There are a lot of people – politicos, authors, strangers at Starbucks, my mother, to name a few – who question the absolute value of the work of a stay-at-home mother.

Linda Hirshman, Author of Get to work: A Manifesto for Women of the World famously said: “women who quit their jobs to stay home with their children [are] making a mistake….the tasks of housekeeping and child rearing [are] not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. “

My take on the matter :

It’s a personal choice.
What about just enjoying your children, they grow up so quickly!
I find being with my children fulfilling, they are so inquisitive and full of life, so enthusiastic!
I suppose a lot of it depends what you do with your time.
Personally I feel so overstimulated, I fear for my brain.
Maybe that explains the encephalitis I had last week.
I stay at home, well,  in between all the travelling that is.
Now where am I again ?
Oh yes, back in Paris, for now..
I’m proud to say I look after my children, I home-educate them (they are bilingual).We’re always busy busy busy.
Somehow in the midst of all that I write. I’ve got 2 books on the go, one in english and the other one in french.
Whatever  possessed me to start writing in french ?!
So there you are, I ‘m probably a bit mad and a bit too creative.
Let’s enjoy our Mummy time while it lasts.You can never experience these early years again.

P.S. Don’t forget to read my friend’s blog, it’s a brilliant read and she often makes me laugh.

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My mother

My mother had a habit of squirrelling money away, not that she really needed to, it was her safety net.When she died,it caused my father a huge headache, trying to trace all her different accounts, some active, others not.

She wasn’t materialistic and never spent much on herself, when she did, she’d hide the fact or felt obliged to justify herself.In some ways, I am a little bit like that too but I think it’s all too common for mums in general.

She did once tell me the story of how when her grandmother was dying, she told my mum where she  had hidden her little nest egg and she wanted her to have it.My mother, being a dutiful daughter told her mother who promptly took it all away.

My mother was at the time married to a violent man.He beat her up whilst pregnant with her son.In those days, divorce was much frowned upon.Eventually, despite her hopes of  ever happy family, she came to the conclusion that she would have to leave.

She was a formidable woman, not the kind you can push around easily, she was also very strong-willed and stubborn, it runs in the family, on the women side anyway.

It goes to show abuse knows no boundaries or classes.

My mother came from a very well to do family, her divorce was seen a complete disgrace.She struggled to raise her son without any help, her own wealthy parents never lifting a finger.

By the time she met my father, she’d done well for herself and had some security.She never fully trusted my father, even though they had a child together, yes, me.

I always remember her telling me that when I married, I was to hide all assets and not share everything I owned.

Sadly, she never did get to enjoy the benefits of her hard work and savings, she became very ill and died when I was a teenager.I watched her becoming very weak, a shadow of herself, yet, she could still terrify everybody, myself included.

I’m not materialistic at all and dislike talking or even thinking about money.I’m not a great spender either but do enjoy splashing out on my children.

When it comes to trust, I could not live with someone I didn’t trust wholly and completely.I’m not just talking about money but much more than that, this deep knowledge that you are loved and respected.

Friends who know my background have often wondered how I could talk about my mother in a positive way after the childhood I had.Well, first of all, she was my mother and I loved her, growing up, I didn’t know any different.

Piecing it altogether, I can reflect on the fact she also had an unhappy childhood and she endured many struggles.Her illness and subsequent death were an almighty shock.

The more I grew in myself, the more I understood her and how difficult life had been for her at times.

Even after all these years, I still think of her and understand a little more all the time.There are many things I wish I could tell her as an adult and no longer the frightened little girl I was.

When I became a mum myself, I watched friends with their mums feeling a little pang, we wouldn’t have had that sort of relationship, I know but…

I strive to do the best I can for my children, hopefully being a fraction of the mum I want to be.Nothing else matters more to me than being a loving mum with happy and well-balanced children.No achievement of any kind could prevail over this.

I’m the lucky one, I broke the vicious circle in my family, friends will know what I’m talking about.No matter what happens in your past, you can change and prevent history from being repeated.

P.S. I cannot re-read myself at this point,too raw.

This post was a long-time coming, I just had to find it in me to write it down.

It has also been inspired by my wonderful friend Ana and her post: http://www.womenontheverge.net/blogs/entry/Is-Money-a-Dirty-Word-

She is also the founder of a wonderful community, go check it out : http://www.womenontheverge