My fourth truth: I forgive you

Day 04 – Something you have to forgive someone for.

I love my mother. She is little and adorable. I get my quirkiness from her, I’m quite sure of it. She makes up her own words. She’s a terrible driver. She has no idea how to turn on a computer. The only thing she knows how to cook from scratch is meatloaf, and hers is the best I’ve ever had. Right now, we have a pretty good relationship. We don’t have long, meaningful, heart-to-heart conversations. That’s not really the type of mother she is. She’s Italian and tough and a very strong person. I am fairly certain that I’ve only seen her cry once. Although our relationship is good, when I was younger we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. On a lot of things. We’d fight constantly, our screams echoing the house as I would run away from the wooden spoon she’d threaten me with.

I’ve forgiven her for the constant terror that she used to have me in on my countless occasions of “talking back” to her. But, it was just recently that I realized I haven’t quite forgiven her for one thing in particular.

When I was about 10 years old, I put on weight. Lots of it. And fast. I began to put on extra pounds around my tummy that my daily dance classes couldn’t keep off. It may have been the cookies my grandmother would sneak to me. Or possibly just the fact that I was going through a growth spurt. Whatever it was, my mother was definitely not the kindest or most understanding when it came to my rising weight.

She was blunt. “You’re putting on too much weight. You almost weigh as much as me,” she’d say as I would jump up and down, trying to zip my jeans.

“Your legs used to be skinny, now even they are looking thicker,” she remarked one day as I was having lunch with her and my aunt. I remember looking down at the sandwich in my hands, on the verge of bursting into tears. I put it down on my plate, refusing to eat anymore.

And then I went home and ate half a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies.

I was growing up, I was hungrier than normal, I never seemed satisfied.

So I kept eating.

And my mother kept making comments.

As I reached high school and my weight plateaued, the remarks died down somewhat. I grew a few more inches and my body became leaner. I rowed crew and my legs thinned down and toned up. I still ate constantly, but the exercise kept me from putting on more pounds.

Today, my mother tells me I’m too skinny. But I don’t believe her.

I realize now that one of the reasons my mother and I don’t have as close of a relationship as we could is because I don’t exactly feel comfortable telling her lots of things. I understand that my history with her — always feeling somewhat inadequate — is a big part of my lack of total comfort. I suppose that I haven’t yet fully forgiven her for not being more helpful and gentle with me when I was younger. I never truly forgave her for being overly critical and harsh with her judgments.

But, there must have been some good that came from her comments. I wonder… have they made me a stronger person? I’m not entirely sure. I work out everyday. For the most part, when I snack, I chose healthy alternatives like peanuts or frozen yogurt to Oreos and Doritos. So, I changed my habits but, did I ever once stand up for myself?

Did I ever once tell her that she made me feel bad about myself when she said hurtful things about my weight?

No.

Her words stung and occasionally cut like a knife.

But, I forgive her.

Because, she’s my mother.

I forgive her.

Because, she’s me.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. G/W
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 01:48:12

    I think a lot of us have to try to forgive our mothers because at some point we’ll hope for forgiveness from our daughters. Being a parents is a job that we can’t do perfectly. When I look at some of the things my mother has done, I’m upset at her because I could have easily done so many things so much better. But there are things she is doing now that I know I’m going to screw up on when I become a mothers. That’s something that’s easy to forget.
    I suffered the opposite of your problem. I was always a chubby kid and I have remained so to date. My mothers bears the blame for part of it. She kept telling me I looked fine and didn’t try to help in my weight loss efforts until I asked her to. In my world, I wish my mother acted a little more like yours and I had to put down a sandwich too. Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. Maybe I’d still be emotionally screwed up anyway.

    Reply

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