Monday, October 15, 2012

A Pink Knitted Sweater

It was just an ordinary day, kids were in their rooms, music playing softly and I was amidst piles and piles of clothes. I was cleaning out my two youngest children's drawers-finding what was too small, what to give away and what to save as a 'souvenir' of my happy memories. When I came across a hand-knitted, pink, cardigan sweater that my mother had knitted for my very first daughter. I held it up and remembered. I remembered my first daughter wearing it and my second daughter wearing it too. I even remembered the pictures we took of them in it. Then I remembered my mother. Tears began to fill my eyes. I haven't had tears for my mother for a few years now, but today I had tears.

Funny how with all the not so good memories I have of my mother and my family I can still remember the sweeter moments. When it was just my mother and I we got along. She seemed to care about me. She seemed to want to be near me and listen to me. I even remember once or twice where she seemed a little proud of me. Maybe it wasn't real. Maybe she was just showing she liked me because she felt she had to, but maybe at some moments, when no one was looking, she liked me.

She, for sure, was not a fan of mine, but there were moments, few, where I think she may have liked me. I say moments because my sisters would quickly remind her of  'who I really was' and then she would be critical, judgemental, uncaring, and selfish towards me again. I would always hope that she would fight for me. That she would stand up to my sisters and say, "I just spent a wonderful afternoon with Ellen -I don't think you know her very well." But she didn't. She never did. She never seemed to be able to remember who I was. I don't know how one forgets so easily or is swayed so swiftly, but that is what I lived with...a forgetful mother.

Being a mommy to three girls I can't imagine forgetting my daughters. I can't imagine not fighting for them. I can't even imagine allowing one daughter to talk badly about the other daughter. I love my three daughters-all of them. I know them. I really know each of them. No one could pull the wool over my eyes about one of them. No one could tell me something that I don't already know about them. My mother didn't know me. She hadn't spent enough time with me to know for sure if the things my sisters were whispering in her ears were truth or lies. It's all just so sad.

The saddest part of it all is that I could have my mother right now, but I don't. I could have her to tell me about my ancestry or the old family stories, to teach me some of the Italian family recipes, to teach the traditions, but I don't. I could have my mother teach me and my girls how to knit our own pink sweater, but I don't. I could have a mother who would call me and see how I'm doing and give me advice. I could have my mother to laugh with. I could have her to come and visit me and read to my babies, her grand babies, and love us and all of us love her, but I don't.  My mother chose to believe the lies. My mother chose not to get to know me. My mother chose to forget me.

With all that said, understand I didn't cry because I'm hurting, or neglected, or because I was falsely accused,  I cried because I remembered her. I cried over the sweet memories I hold in my heart towards her. I cried because I know who I am and I know the sweet side of her. I cried because I could see how much the Lord has healed me. I have not allowed the enemy to steal my sweet memories. I have not believed the lies. I know the truth.

Lord, thank you for my mother. Thank you for the good memories. Thank you for the walks to the library, watching shows together, taking bus rides to N.J. to visit my grandmother, and for talks in a quiet house. Thank you that I had a mother, some little girls never did.

 Lord, if I carry any unforgiveness towards her for all she has said and done to me, show me that I may forgive her and have my heart cleansed. Watch over her, where ever she is, draw her to you and let her know just how much you love her and forgive her. I place her in your hands, I know she is safe with you.

My mother said goodbye to me, or ended our relationship in the fall of 2005. It has been seven years since I have seen her.
(Part of the Prima Famiglia saga)

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