No Likey, No Love

May 11th, 2014


web b:w rose

Last night I lay awake berating myself until deep into the night. I’d been on Facebook late and started noticing all the tributes and photos to mothers that were blooming and multiplying. My own brother put up a picture of our mother and garnered many nice comments from people who had known her. So what is wrong with me, I wondered. Why did I have such a complicated relationship with her and why am I left with memories that don’t comfort me but instead make me feel alternately guilty and lonely? Everyone loved my mother, especially her nieces and nephews, grandchildren and the kids she taught throughout the years. As they should have. She was an incredible woman –strong, smart and in many ways stifled by the limits of her own life. She achieved so much, she survived so much and she bailed me out more often than she should have. So why do I mainly remember a sad cold home? I couldn’t think my way through my funk because all those pictures of loving mothers and daughters on FB scrolled through the back of my mind in a slide show of reproach, leaving me on the end of the familial spectrum called “an ungrateful child is sharper than a serpent’s tooth.” No big epiphany here or resolution or closure (if that even exists), but when I read this article in the NYT this morning about the angst social media can cause, I realized that sometimes FB is not always the right place for me to be. Too often, it leads me to make too many comparisons between my life and others with no room for the shades of gray I need to explore and accept. Maybe once I do that, my good memories will grow and start to look more like this:

web rose pink



3 Responses to “No Likey, No Love”

  1. Lynne says:

    I doubt you’re alone feeling that way, Nikki. I suspect there are a lot of us who have complicated relationships with out mothers, not particularly liking them, and loving them out of obligation more than true emotion. We just can’t admit it in public. Maybe I’m too suspicious, but I always wonder why some people feel the need to so loudly, and publicly proclaim their adoration for children, spouse, parents, etc. I’m also suspicious of cloying mother/daughter relationships. I don’t think we can become our true selves without that antagonism toward the person who probably mirrors back some parts of ourselves we’d rather not have reflected out to the world. Facebook is today’s equivalent to family portrait’s in the past. Put on the good clothes, hide the bumps, bruises, and closet-dwelling skeletons, smile for a few seconds so you can have a permanent record showing how “happily-ever-after” your family is. Yeah, right.

  2. Harriet Smartt says:

    Introspection is not always accompanied by soft and pastel hues, however it is a valuable exercise in learning about self and life in general.
    I agree with the thoughts about FB – sort of like being in a Hallmark Store – gag! Just know your comments on FB are valued/ appreciated and perhaps enlightening for some.

  3. Connie Dittrich says:

    I so get this. My mother was all those other things, but just not to me. (this is probably an overstatement but it feels like this a lot) And it’s taken me all of my 65 years to understand that I just can’t take it so personally. I still see the 12-year old girl standing in the doorway of our home with her saying good-bye to someone, me reaching for her hand and being re-buffed. That picture comes to me way too many times to be meaningless. But with that, she came to my defense as the unmarried 20-year old when my Catholic father was so mortified. So much confusion. I don’t think we ever grow up or outgrow our angst. And FB is like a long parade of one-upmanship!

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