When mother and grown child are strangers

The other day on Badoo, I had to stop talking to a young woman who was striving to get U.S. citizenship for her Mexican husband before he even sets foot here.  I told her – at least I think I did – that she could get the green card just by having married him and requesting it, but I didn’t think she could get citizenship for him unless he came here and pursued it himself, being as he was an adult and this much would be expected of him as a minimum requirement.  But maybe I didn’t tell it too well.  I tried to tell her via telling her how it been with my lost son and the fact that the country he was raised in is a major sponser of terrorism against the U.S. not only made it harder for him but also for me to trust him since I don’t really know him, only that he comes from a nation that hates mine.

My son went from this baby, pictured here at 6 months old…

…to this adult…

…with no interval of acquaintanceship in between.

In retrospect, I regret telling her anything about him, how everything went all wrong.  Her instant response was pity.  I don’t want pity… only for her to know where I’m coming from, sharing what I kn0w that might help, maybe a little piece of myself.  But pity… I have no idea what to do with that, how on earth to respond to it.

Heck, its easier to talk to the funny guy with the foot fettish that really wants to talk of nothing more complicated than that.  I told him that I had weird web toes and affinity for frogs, LOL.  I’m curious to see if he responds to that.  But, hey, it’s true after all.  You’re lucky I don’t post pictures of my toes here.  Maybe I’ll post pictures of the frogs though.  Anyway…

I’m not angry at her.  I can understand that she probably felt that pity was the correct way to respond the same way people – including myself I’m shamed to say – always say “Sorry,” when presented with the news of someone close to you dying.  I simply didn’t know what to say to her after that. 

When something hurts you that you have no power to do anything about, you may remember it or chose to forget it, but either way, you shut off your feelings about it to some extent.  Pity makes you feel like you have to turn those feelings back on.  What if you don’t want to?  What if those helpless feelings in the OFF position works better for you?

Maybe I can pretend it never happened if I can ever get up the nerve to speak to her again? 

This morning, though, I saw I had company in feeling this peculiar way.  There was an article on MSNBC Today; People about the mother and daughter that reconnected in January this year after 23 years:  Mother of girl abducted in ’87: ‘It’s like we’re strangers’ – Joy of reunion was quickly replaced by ‘heartbreak’ — and resentment over money

I wasn’t surprised to read this news heading.   It struck me as enevitiable.  I’d hoped for more like anyone else surely did as well, I just couldn’t imagine the way for it to happen.

What surprised, or more accurately, just plain upset me about it, was both the slant of the article toward showing the daughter as “cold toward her biological mother and money mongering,” an attitude quickly echoed by many of the people that commented on the article.  They were saying the girl was all about money in the first place because she was refusing to do interviews unless paid well for it and, also, harbored some complaint of not getting part of the money the parents had sued the hospital over losing their baby.

I suspect the magazine is just peeved at not getting that choice interview and I’m noticing that the daughter is not talking to them.

I can see where the mother is a little upset at the daughter for seeming to care so much about the monetary factor.  But I doubt that it’s really about the money. She didn’t talk to them.  Did they offer to pay?  Did she refuse anyway?

What I think it’s really about is the hurt of nonrefundable loss.  Striving to have compensation for something that can’t be compensated.  Maybe she even has a niggling resentment at her mother for not being able to rescue her as a child and doesn’t want to face that since, after all, it would do her no good.  I can see her not wanting to sweat in the heat of a media spotlight with the discomfort of feeling that can’t be adequately expressed.   

My first baby son was 10 months old when his Iranian Shi-ite (sans the extra i and e) stole him from me. I knew he was being raised in Iran, but there was nothing I could do to get him back. My leaving Islam meant I would be executed if I set foot back there and no one on the American side would help me.

19 years later, he found out about me on his own and made contact through email. Like this lady in the article above, it seemed like a miracle at first. But the truth is, I had nothing to do with raising him, no idea what his childhood was like, and he’s the spitting image of his father who betrayed me. We emailed back and forth for a while but very quickly ran into misunderstandings and dead spaces.  I don’t know what else to call it.  Like Mrs. Smith says at the beginning of the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith, “There’s just all this space between us and it keeps filling up with all the things we don’t say.”

We’re strangers and I don’t know how to feel about him.

I know this mother and daughter must be facing the same. The mother had to have remade herself in order to cope with the feeling of failure in losing her daughter and having to go on with life. The daughter knew a different woman as her mother growing up. I don’t know how you fix a forced emotional distance like that. I can see where the daughter just doesn’t want to do interviews because she just doesn’t know how to talk about it. Money is just an excuse.

I’m kind of the same way about my son. I can tell you about him, but I’ll clam up if you ask me for more or, worse, show pity as if it would make any useful difference this long after the fact. Nobody could or would help when it would have actually made a difference. You know?

So shut up already.  Leave the girl and her mother alone.  They’ve come a very long way just to find each other.  They need time to concentrate on finding out who they are together now.  The damage has already been done.  They may never find out.  But please don’t make it any harder for them.

About Ampbreia

I'm an ex-Pentacostal, ex-Muslim, ecclectic Agnostic with slightly Wiccan leanings. I am not affiliated with any organized religion or political platform, but I do believe in magic and all things wise and wonderful. I work as an admin in a calibration lab. I've published 2 books so far this year: Lost in Foreign Passions: Love and betrayal, passion and loss in the heart of an alien land (a memoir of my time as a Muslimah and living in Iran for a year), written under my previous married name, Debra Kamza, and Dream Lover (a paranormal romance, the tale of witch that summons her favorite character out of a Bewitched spin-off and the actor who plays him as well). I'm constantly writing stories and poems, thoughts and dreams, and quite a few opinions - many of which are not popular but oh well. Bite me. I'm interested in art, animals, the paranormal, and people. I love to dance, all sorts, but have been studying belly dance since 2006 and LOVE it! I love anime too and love dressing up and going to conventions. My writing runs the gummut of historical, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and erotica. Beware: I may not be safe reading for work. Just saying....
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One Response to When mother and grown child are strangers

  1. Jadewik says:

    Interesting story. I’ve always hated the “pity party”. It bothers me that the ‘norm’ is to pity someone for their hardships. Sorry, but I’ve never been to a pity party that solved anything, though I have been to quite a few that make things worse…

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people would encourage or offer assistance instead of pity? … it would be even better if those sharing their stories got off their duff and did something to alleviate their sorrows instead of wallowing in it. Granted, sometimes one might need a moment to vent about life and it is difficult to tell a vent from an appeal for assistance… which is probably why most people resort to pity as a default.


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