Looking back – Part Two

When I was little, I often thought I didn’t belong in my family. Sometimes I thought I had been kidnapped from my real mom, sometimes that I was adopted. But soon, my real mom would come looking for me.

Once I had a dream, where I’m sitting in my real mom’s lap all surrounded by her arms and her love. She is young, blond and beautiful, and dressed in pale blue. She talks to me, looks at me, hugs me, cares about me. Really loves me. I know she’s a nurse and her name is Marie.

At that time I was old enough to know how to write, and made a note on a piece of paper saying: Mama Marie, nurse. Then I hid the small scrap of paper in a book. A safe place from moms eyes, I reckoned.

Many years later, while my eldest daughter was studying to be a preschool teacher, I told her this – without the details though. She immediately snapped at me: “It’s a very common fantasy among children!”

So! There I got hit!

No! I wasn’t kidnapped in to my family. Nowadays I actually sometimes see my mother in the mirror. Mostly on bad days. Don’t say I like it, but that’s life! So, get a grip, gal!

What else is not to like? Hmmm…. so many moments… so many incidents…

Like when Dad suggested I would sleep in mom’s bed for a change – I preferred to sleep in his arms – and she, as soon as I got there, turned her back on me. No warmth or softness of any kind. No feelings of comfort and safety.

Or… Like when I was struggling with sewing a dress for one of my dolls. She came, saw what I was doing, and said she would make one for me, a proper one. She didn’t understand, it was the making of it that was the most fun. I was a creative person already as a small girl.

But I could do nothing! She was determined, found a pattern, a piece of fabric SHE liked, then cut and sewed. Then handed me the dress, probably expecting a “Thank you” and a “how nice it is”. Can’t remember me saying anything. I was just so devastated, and thought the dress was ugly. Hated both the fabric she had chosen and the look. The feeling I got out of this, and many more incidents similar to this one, was “you can’t, you’re worthless, I do everything better than you, and know how to do things the right way”.

I never let the doll wear that dress…

My self esteem went down, inch by inch, for each time something like this happened. However I must have had some strength within me after all. Or perhaps it was my creativity that was too strong to get killed. During the years that followed, I kept on knitting, sewing, crocheting – but always in secret. I never showed her anything, never told her anything. Nothing! Never more.

As a grown up and no longer living with her, I kept on sewing and knitting. Mostly clothes; dresses, trousers, jackets, sweaters. To myself, to my daughters, to my husband. Of course she must have seen what I made, but can’t remember she even once said “Look good! Well done”.

My sister was also creative. With knitting, sewing, also making needlework, a lot more than I did, and she learned me a lot. I don’t know if mom ever gave her any credit for how skilled she was, but I doubt it. Much later, my sister had developed MS and had in periods trouble with her eyes, with double vision. Of course, according to mom, all her eye troubles were due to all the sewing and knitting.

Apropos that: all the books I used to read, could of course damage MY eyes!

Painting by Picasso