Are you there, Mom? It’s me, Jane.
I don’t know who I’m writing to, because the person who gave birth to me is the type of person I know to think the contents of this post nothing but “the problem with Millennials not respecting anyone these days”.
But I’m writing it anyway, because it’s not for you—it’s for me.
You’ve missed seven birthdays now.
The last cake you ever made for me was a red velvet cake, sans icing because that’s how I like it. You refused to attend the birthday party at Mimi’s house because you didn’t want to see my dad.
The way I felt about it then is the same as now: It was childish of you to put your drama first instead of celebrating my birthday with me and my family, surrounded by love and laughter. The last birthday on which you saw me, and you refused to celebrate it with me.
The last time we were on good terms, I was 20 years old. Although the core of my being still exists, I am not the same. I’m different. I’m 27 now, and I’ve had a lot of growing up to do without you. You broke my heart, and it took a long time to heal from that pain, but I did—and the person I am today doesn’t need you.
I used to think the problem was me. I would stay up at night for hours, replaying again and again all the times we had some kind of falling out. But then I think back to your relationship with my father. I never talk about, but I remember it—the fights. It seems like those two times he cut his hand on the mechanical saw by accident and you guys rushed to the hospital were the only times you expressed actual concern for his well-being.
Whatever his faults, we all have them. You’re not flawless, either.
The difference between him and your husband is that he learned from his mistakes and only spanked me once again after.
The difference is that he did not continue to punish me because he could not control his own anger or frustration at a child.
The difference is that he never allowed any of the women he saw to lay their hands on me.
The difference is that he never sexualized anything about me—even my pajamas.
The difference is that I could wear whatever swimsuit I wanted, and he not once told me to go change because of some male gaze BS. And, because I feel like my readers may find this context useful, I never wore risque clothing to be risque and grab the attention of men. I always wore what felt most comfortable to me, when I had autonomy, and never once considered that someone might sexualize me. I was naive, sure. But this idea of covering myself up? That was always only for and because of men. It put a damper on my self-confidence, and I’m determined to never impose that shit on any person.
I want to know if it was worth it.
Was all that fighting—taking my dad to court, insisting upon all the holidays, demanding more child support—worth it? Was everything that ever transpired worth it?
Excuse me if I’m overstepping my boundaries here, but I just fail to see how it could have mattered so much in the long run. The people you strove to keep me from most are the people with whom I’ve wound up. Your utmost fear throughout raising me—that I’d leave you—has happened because I failed to be enough for you.
Is it enough yet? Do you think you’ve succeeded in whatever it is you’re trying to succeed in? Because if the end result is me crying back you, begging on my knees for your forgiveness, it’s never going to happen. I don’t need you anymore. The time has surpassed.
I do surmise, however, you may one day want me.
You’ve missed seven birthdays, but what about grandchildren?
I don’t trust you with my life, so why would I trust you around my children?
You can spread lies to your friends and acquaintances about me all you want, but I don’t care. I’m not a stubborn child anymore—I stopped being that ages ago. No—I’m at my wit’s end. Your biological father went no-contact because you took too much advantage of him, caring more about what you thought he owed you for having given you up for adoption than building a mother-father relationship with him. In that process, you removed your children’s ability to form any sort of relationship with him. Because, oh, right—doing things in our name is too easy for you, and the internet makes this shit easy.
I digress. I’m going off-topic, on a tangent. ‘Tis what I do.
My children may be related to my siblings from you and your husband, but my children will never be your grandchildren.
And I don’t care how anyone else on your side of the fam operates. Blood doesn’t get you an invite to birthday parties, weddings or celebrations of any kind—not with me.
You don’t get into any of mine.
So I ask you again: Was it worth it? Was everything—every lie, every rumor, every insult, every court case—worth it?
Did you get what you wanted?