Friday, February 25, 2011

My Mother & Me(Dynamics of My Family)

Perhaps my relationship with my mom started way back when my brother Gil was born.Gil is five and half years older than I am, and when my mom gave birth to him she was a newly wed and only eighteen years old. My dad had enlisted in the Navy and when my brother was only 3 months old my dad was shipped off  to serve his country in World War 2.My mom was left behind and she moved in with her parents and went to work on an Army base located somewhere in Brooklyn,NY.Mygrandmother took care of my brother while my mom went to work. When my dad returned from the Navy my brother was onlytwo years old. I was told that my grandmother  had become so overly protective of my brother that she hardly allowed my father to touch or hold his own son. My dad certainly resented this and in strange ways perhaps took his feelings out on my brother .My mom seemed to always be protecting my brother with my dad and at the same time my dad smothered me with love and affection. So much so, that when I was in high school I remember pushing my dad away with all his kisses to me (which years later I regretted).
Perhaps the dynamics were then carved to form a loving relationship of a little girl and her father and a not so close relationship with her mother. I was for sure daddy’s little girl and how I loved it.
As I became older and even more adoring of my dad, perhaps my mom was (subconsciously) becoming jealous of my relationship with him. Her friends would always comment that my dad’s face just lit up when I entered the room and my mom was always around to hear them say it.
As I think back to my childhood and try to reminisce about when and where my relationship with my mom seemed to be changing was perhaps when we moved to Great Neck,L.I.  I was eleven years old and would be entering sixth grade.  Growing up in Bayside,NY  as a younger child before moving to Great Neck were filled with  many joyous moments. I was still running into my dad’s arms whenever I heard him call my name after he returned  home from a
day of work ( as I played outside in the playground ). At an early age my mom did not work so when I was not is school  or playing with friends I was with my mother who took me to ballet lessons and watched at home as I took my piano lessons. These certainly were the years of the” Ozzie & Harriet” generation.
Playing the piano which I enjoyed was always a sore spot for me because I recalled that my brother had a beautiful baby grand piano and that my mom sold it when he refused to practice the piano.It was replaced for me with an old ugly upright.  I had always expressed to my mom that I would like the same piano my brother had yet she never seemed to get me one.My mom  had a strong personality perhaps because she was only five feet tall and felt that she had to speak up to “protect” herself.I do not recall her ever  being a nurturing, soft,cuddling mother which was more the role my dad played for me.He was the one that I think of who was so loving and nurturing to me where my mom was not.My mom had more of a “tough love “personality  where my dad was just smothering me with love and affection. My mom  always stressed learning and education, she was perhaps more of the displinary.My parents were both supportive of me yet as I got older and perhaps had called for advice my mom always told me to speak to my dad because he was better at these things than she was.
I did feel some pain when during the summer months she made me do my lessons from the summer reading programs that she subscribed to called Highlights. I was not allowed out to play during the summer until I completed each lesson that she had me do.One summer was especially painful when she accidently received a year ahead of the lessons I should have been doing and she had me read until I knew every word.I remember so vividly the torture I felt. As the tears rolled down my cheeks I pleaded with her that the assignments were too difficult for me. My mom insisted only to find out that the lessons were a year ahead. I remember her being so proud that she thought she had advanced me to the head of my class as a reader .For me it damaged me for I did not enjoy reading until I became much older.
My other vivid memory that perhaps scarred our relationship was how badly I wanted this beautiful dancing ballerina that my cousin Carole had. We would visit my dad’s older brother almost every Sunday. They lived out in Levittown, Long Island and I had loved to go to their home where I played mostly with my cousin Debbie who was younger than her two sisters. Every week I would wind up this ballerina that was in a glass dome (standing only 6-8 inches tall) and watch her as she swirled to the music. I have no idea why I was so mesmerized by the dancing ballerina I just remember how I loved her so. I remember asking my mom many times if I could get one and she always said no. I was probably around nine years old and I was at the time also a “ballerina” taking dancing lessons. I have no idea why my mom said no and wonder why I did not ask my dad to get me one. It could have been that somehow I knew my mom was the “boss” although my dad would have given me anything that I ever wanted. My mom had no explanation nor did she ever try to explain to me why I could not get a dancing ballerina she just had the simple answer of no. There was no warmth, softness or as I say the feeling of being nurtured by my mom. This was how she would express things to me. Maybe I just wanted a mother portrayed like all the TV shows at that time (the late 50’s early 60’s) ,whether it was  “The Donna Reed Show “or “Leave it to Beaver .


  1. Mad me sad to read how your mother was with you. I had the Ozzie and Harriet, or Father Knows Best family. My mom later became my best friend too because we lived 30 miles out in the country and once home, we were home. She drove our school bus so I was hours a day on the bus with her. She wouldn't let me go to town in a car once I drove by myself at night, so she went to all my ballgames and dragged the street with me and my friends. She was most nurturing. Your family does sound like mine in one way: My brother Bobby was born 9 months after their marriage, dad was 18 and Mom 19 when he was born, and dad left about a year later for the navy in San Francisco. Mom moved back in with her parents too, but she didn't work because she has had bad kidneys forever. I was born in 1950 to complete the family, just like yours; 1 boy, 1 girl. We do have alot in common but NY compared to TX are kind of worlds a part. I lived at a gas plant my dad ran.

  2. I forgot to add I read for hours a day by choice and at end of 1st grade had read through 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade libraries at my school. I'm afraid I was more like your mom in that I required my own 3 children to do schoolwork in the summer so they wouldn't lose what they had learned. Math was my thing for them. But all my children love to read just like me and like Mom use to.