I never liked the good-night kisses Mom gave me. She pouted her lips – and not in a cute way – they became like a small hard beak, with which she pecked my forehead. Very quick, and very “let’s get this done. I have other things to do”.
The only other times she kissed me, or tried to, was when she was very sad. Over what, I’ve absolutely no idea. She was crying, tears wet her cheeks and mouth. She was usually sitting on a kitchen chair when she saw me and begged me to come nearer. Reluctantly I approached her, she hugged me and kissed me and burst out while sobbing: “OH! You’re the only one I have, my little sunshine!”
Those wet kisses and the sobbing made me feel very uncomfortable and I just wanted to go away. The words and something in her voice! So needy, so… I don’t know what! It’s hard to find the words to describe my feelings there and then, but I hated it. It was just so icky!!!
Awkward! I don’t remember any time when she hugged me and kissed me, and seemed happy about it! And made me happy… 😦
Mom also had the habit of threatening to leave us. I guess she and Dad had quarreled, they often did, and she reacted by putting on her coat and hat, taking her purse, handbag, luggage-something, and then sat down on a chair as close to the front door as possible. She cried and said she should go away, because no one cared for her. “No one will ever miss me!”
She did that over and over again, during my childhood, my adolescents and further on. Until her death. I guess.
Now when I compile these memories, I realize that the crying-kissing-part occurred when she was alone with me as a little girl. The “go-away”-part occurred when at least Dad was around too.
Naturally she never did “leave us forever”. My eight years older brother got irritated when she got these tantrums, and went up to his room. And so did I, when I got older and had a room of my own upstairs.
But mostly she actually did go – out for a walk – and Dad went out after her. Later they came back together. Seemingly everything sorted out between them.
Some courage I still must have had as a child. I remember once she sat there in the hallway sobbing and feeling sorry for herself, threatening to leave. I might have been four or five.
I looked at her, opened my mouth and spoke: “Well go then! You always say you’re going, but you never do it!”
She just stared at me. As in chock.
Wish I could surely remember what happened next. I have a faint memory, of how she without saying a word, went to the kitchen and started to do the dishes or something. Did it loudly…
However, I might be totally wrong about that. Can’t see her going out for a walk that time, though.
Much later, during the period Dad was sick in cancer, before he died, we had the possibility to talk with each other a couple of times without her with us, and also wrote some letters to each other. We were both totally honest and therefore able to talk about things, events, feelings we had kept as secrets, and sort of straighten some things out.
One thing he told me, was exactly the same I had experienced! Namely! If she had a quarrel with Dad, she was always asking me who I thought was right. Herself or Dad. And I had to answer that she was. Even though I actually thought that Dad was right. Otherwise things would be a lot worse. She would be furious at me as well. And if she quarreled over me – not “with” this time – she asked Dad who he thought was right. He had to say she was, for the same reason. Things would be a lot worse, and he got it afterwards.
One or the other of us always got it afterwards…
Painting: Picasso – Bullfight 1934