I hope that when you receive this letter you are in good health.
Your daughter called me the other day from a number I didn’t recognize. I was driving my car out of the Wal-Mart parking lot when I answered and heard her aging voice say my name. Without hesitation I asked “what do you want?”
“I’m just calling to find out why you’re not talking to me. Is it because of the Avon?”
“No. I’m not talking to you cause you have no respect for me as a woman, as a daughter as a mother or a simple human being.”
She became rather irate and her thick island accent broke through each syllable as she tried to make some type of sense for her reasoning for placing a call to the daughter has hasn’t attempted to reach out to in over a year.
“I had to pay a bill.”
I didn’t really say much to her but asked “what are you trying to accomplish with this call?”
It felt like a meeting. I didn’t care to hear her voice but wanted to give her as much closure as I possibly could by asking what the end game was. She didn’t answer directly. She went on about the things I said to her friends at the bar. About how I went to her when I needed something. How I said she never helped with my son but that he was always in her house. What mother throws shit in your face? I have never done this to my son. He didn’t ask to be born.
“Te voy a decir esto y te voy a dejar vivir tu vida tranguila; I am always going to be your mother and you are always going to be my daughter.”
She hung up the phone on me.
I was in a funk for the rest of the morning. It was too damn early to be dealing with her shit.
It was in November of 2015 when I finally decided to walk away from her. There was no reaching her. There was no talking to her. We were two people just occupying space in the room with meaningless conversation between us. I decided that for my sanity I could no longer have her in my life. She me made feel like some random bitch off the street. I had to choose my sanity over having a relationship with a woman who didn’t raise me.
I wrote a not so nice blog post telling her fuck you. She’s not going to see it. I’m sorry abuela for doing that. And no, I’m not taking it down.
Yes she still goes to church on Sundays. Her Facebook posts confirm it. But you’ve been a god fearing woman all your life and don’t you know that the Devil goes to church every Sunday too?
Abuela, your daughter always said your husband was to blame for who she was. “Porque papi me ensenllo” was her famous line and reason for everything she did or didn’t do. Why is that? She left Puerto Rico in 1981, so for the first 14 years of her life he showed her how to be unemotional? Unforgiving? Selfish? How did he do this? Why would he do this? Is what she saying even true?
Abuelo has been dead since 1993. I saw him for a quick 2 seconds sitting on your daughter’s couch back then as I walked in from the street to get clothes and leave again. His face looks just like his illegitimate son Jimmy. Except he was bloated. He was dying. I now wonder if he was there to make amends.
You know what’s funny abuela? When I tried to tell her what I meant by her not being a mother to me, she thought I was referring to the time we were in foster care.
“Yo se que usted was in foster care for a long time. I wasn’t a good mother then”
But that wasn’t what I was talking about. I’m old enough to understand that sometimes we make decisions that are downright stupid. That are downright illegal and your kids are the ones to suffer. I was never angry that foster care was and is part of my story. I mean, I’ve grown out of that angry suit and put on another.
I’ve made my own downright stupid decisions as a mother. I’m not perfect. I’ve apologized whenever I could.
I’m more amazed by the fact that she doesn’t see the motherless days, months and years she gave me even after we were given back to her. You would think that after spending 5 years without your children, you’d have a plan to make up for it right? For a long time I justified the divide between us with therapy. I convinced myself that she’s just as damaged as her children were. But then I threw that concept out of the window when I became a mother. I hated her more when I became a mother. I thought I would understand her circumstances better but instead motherhood pushed me further away.
Did you know Nosky, la chiquita, is serving a 6 year sentence? She’s only 20. I asked your daughter to give her to me. Con papeles. But she said no. It was all tax season related.
Abuelita, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. I know church calls and the coffee needs grinding and all those cats hiding in your backyard need your attention. I was just in the middle of making dinner. At least she took the time to show me how to make fresh sofrito. I just wanted to reach out to you real quick. I promise to write again in more details. I’ll make the time to answer whatever questions you have. I’m sure her version of how things ended was way more dramatic than what I can ever come up with. I tell myself every day not to be to upset. I’m the child in this situation.
I hope you understand that I am not trying to be intentionally disrespectful. I just want a chance to finally know what being happy is.
P.S. Yes. I also promise to come back and visit. 🙂
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