Dysfunctional. I don’t think my family is very different from many other families out there in this respect. There are a lot of stories that I don’t mind telling on this blog, but there are some difficult things from my childhood that I probably won’t ever get into, partly because I know that some members of my family read this blog and that is in a way, far more uncomfortable than having strangers and lurkers visit. For one, I feel that I need to censor the content to a certain degree and second, there are some things that you’d rather some people close to you not know about (you know what I’m talking about. Don’t tell me you weren’t horrified at first when your mom or dad tried to friend you on FaceBook). But the fact is, I know that my family, and my mom in particular, checks in. You may recall the post that I wrote on Mother’s Day about my mom. Since I know she was a blog reader the post was written in part for her as a tribute and I assumed that she had read it. She in fact, did not until weeks later when I happened to mention it.
I believe that my mom and I have a good, solid relationship, but we are not touchy-feely and we don’t engage in heartfelt exchanges very much. I believe it is hard for us to express things to each other for a number of reasons, much of which could probably be traced back to childhood experiences and trauma, upbringing and cultural dispositions. And so the post was a lot of what I’ve always felt, but never brought myself to say out loud. It’s baffling, I know. As adults, it should be so easy to express how you feel to someone close to your heart, but in reality, it’s not always so, and sometimes it is harder than talking to a stranger.
The internet is a strange and funny place. My mom wrote me an email a few weeks ago to thank me for the post and to tell me how important it was for her to hear those words. She forwarded the post to other people. I admit it surprised me especially since we are not in the habit of communicating through email. It was heart felt and at times hard to read mostly because it magnified the fact that this exchange should have been said in person. These honest words were neither spoken nor written down in letter form, but rather sent via airwaves, pinging between servers. My mom and I haven’t talked about our email exchange since. That might sound strange to everybody else, but it’s ok. It’s also a strange notion that she is getting to “know” me better through the blog. No matter how old you are, your mom is your mom and sometimes you fall back into patterns from childhood that are hard to break. You hope that you learn from certain things when you become a parent yourself. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s hard to talk. We try.