Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thank You Baby Jesus


My mother was always the center of attention, even at Christmas, which she hated.

She was a stunning good looker, vivid and dark. But her eyes were an icy, striking, pale blue, and her hair (when she was younger) was almost black. She had a widow's peak, full lips, the broad high cheekbones of her Native American ancestry, and yet, the cold blue eyes of General Custer. And in much that same way she was at war within her own twisted internal world. She was born on December 23rd in 1921. She was a young child at the height of the Great Depression. It was a time when her family was trying to get away from the Oklahoma Indian Territories, and a past that shamed her and made her hate her family. She was scarred by the experience. Add to that the fact that the 25th of December belonged to the baby Jesus, well it always pissed her off. And woe to the "loved one" who didn't make more of Maggy's birthday than that of that damned baby's. And she made no secret of hating her mother and father. So much for the ten commandments. Oh yes, she did take the Lord's name in vane. Um hum.

For a woman who claimed to have no maternal instinct, she married a man with three sons in tow, which never made any sense to me, her only biological child. But when I was born it was immediately apparent to her that she had no maternal instinct. And that I was merely an attention suck. Babies are like that. Time, energy, attention. They are so needy. And talk about cry-baby. That was always the last thing she said to me as she left me sobbing. To say that my life as her only child was traumatic is mere understatement. That she left no visible evidence of my injury was shear art.

It has been pointed out to me recently that I would not be the person I am today were it not for her. Had she given me to my Aunt and Uncle Savage, I'd have been a very different woman. I might have been Pickles, or someone like her, for all we know. Cheerleader, Prom Queen, married to a Texas banker's son and popping out babies, then collecting grand babies, and normal as all get out. If a Pickles-like woman is normal. A good, God fearing Baptist woman, racist to my core, homophobic, probably fat, no doubt blonde, by now. A good upstanding cracker, like my Aunts. No offense meant to any good God fearing cracker women.

That she died on the baby Jesus' birthday is also art. She upstaged him once again, and for the first time in my life she gave me a really good gift. A gift I had been praying for for decades by then. It was the only time she ever give me what I wanted, what I asked for. Thank you Maggy. And thank you Santa, and Baby Jesus.

So why am I always sad this time of year?

26 comments:

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

normal ain't all its cracked up to be. wtf IS normal, anyway?

Linda-Sama said...

love the post, sis....as I've said before, women who have children but shouldn't have are abominations in my book.

but look at us....we wouldn't be the survivors that we are without our mamas

MRMacrum said...

Why are so many sad at this time of the year? I asked myself that question so much as a kid while I watched my dad drink himself into some seasonal funk. I fight the same tendency every year myself. Thankfully I do not drink anymore and haven't for years.

We probably know why we are so sad, but we get lost in being sad instead of dealing with the reasons. Your post here tells me you might be trying to find out why.

giggles said...

Oh, my.... You are telling my story,too.... But how ironic...we wouldn't be who we are.... So, mom? Thanks very little?! And thanks very much!

Mauigirl said...

What a striking portrait of your mother. I can see she was indeed a strong influence.

I guess we are all the product of everyone who influenced us as we grew and even throughout our lives. In my case it was my father and I that had the battles and the angst. My mom and I are fine together.

Interestingly your mother was born on the same date as my aunt - who is also a very difficult person. I'm not a real believer in astrology so maybe it's the frustration of having a birthday so close to that of that darn baby Jesus that does it!

Mauigirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gail said...

Good Morning Utah-
This is such an amazing post. Your honest writing takes my breath away. f I may try answering your question - and Lord knows I have no right - but.......

Why are you so sad at Christmas? I think that marked occasions bring memories in to the light, such as a holiday, birthday, death-day, etc. and your sadness is grief over surrendering to not having the Mom you hoped for. Grief over what wasn't is quite powerful.
Anyway, this is just my thought, said with the highest regard for you and what I have been privileged to know about you via blog-land.
Personally? I think you are the "cat's meow" :-)

Love,
Gail
peace.....

Randal Graves said...

mrmacrum's last paragraph sums it up nicely. It's far easier to be lost in it, it's a comfort in its own way, familiarity. Even if we don't enjoy it. Maybe we do. Who knows.

Utah Savage said...

Emergency group therapy today. Obviously I'm not the only one who's sad. If you'd asked me yesterday, I'd have told you it was because of Prop8 or some other political reason. But truth is this is my mother's time of year--when she was celebrated more than Christmas. I always dreaded the approach of her birthday and since it was the day before Christmas Eve, the two events were nearly unbearably intertwined. My mother's atheism was so powerful, it made a mockery of Christmas.

Comrade Kevin said...

I'm feeling the same way about Christmas that you are.

Dusty said...

Holy friggin shit.

This is one of those Sweet-Jesus-in-a-speedo kinda posts Peg.

She's gone, so disappear her in your mind as well. Smoke a bowl to the ole biddy and be done w/her.

I know you can do it. ;)

Linda-Sama said...

hey, sis -- next year I'm throwin' an anti-holiday holiday party, ya wanna come?

that is, unless I'm in India around this time.....

themom said...

Today is my son't 31st birthday...which we acknowledge in a rather cursory way. Because of Christmas, he was ignored as a baby...so since he was 5 or 6, we celebrate his birthday as a HALF birthday - on June 23rd. And those who chose to ignore him in December have no way to get around it and he is happy and we can celebrate Christmas.

DCup said...

I guess you can take some comfort in the fact that you survived having her for a mother.

I wince because I worry that someone will say the exact same things to my kids.

You gained strength from your childhood. Many would have crumbled into nothing.

Mathman6293 said...

I feel like we all survive our parents in some ways - a commonality of sorts.

I will now think of you as a syb not the old person who you claim to be. Your mother was only a couple years older than my dad (March 6, 1924).

Naj said...

you DO resemble your mother; don't you?

You both look "French", right out of the new wave!

Merry Xmas!

Utah Savage said...

Naj, I do, which isn't always lovely to acknowledge. But I still get hit on now and then, so having the bones is a good thing. But I also behave quite a bit like my mother too. I suppose the main thing is I like to be alone. She never did. An audience was pretty important her. Well, and again, I don't necessarily want to actually be in the company of others, but I do want an audience. Oh god, this may require further exploration. At least I didn't have any children to drive crazy, but then maybe I'd learned just enough not to be that bad a parent. Then again, who knows, I might have been every bit as bad.

Utah Savage said...

Mathman, your dad was probably 40 when he had you. My mother was 21 when she had me.

Vigilante said...

Utah, the only thing I can say is,

BABY JESUS CAN YOU WRITE!

Your shadow is intense. I always come here when I want to get out of the sun. You're that cool!

anita said...

as it turns out, my mother was abused by her father (and one of her older brothers) in a similar fashion that you describe your own abuse. her mother pretty much abandoned her husband and her young children.

we (her children) always suspected all of this, but it was never really confirmed by my father until after she died (i guess she swore him to secrecy). so, finally we had some explanation for her behavior, her isolation, her verbal abuse, her intermittent breakdowns, her neuroses, etc., that we, her six children, had to bear growing up.

i believe my father abused her, as well. but not in that way, not in a physical or sexual way. it was more of him taking advantage of her extreme depression and her unwillingness or inability to stand up for herself.

therefore, all six of us ended up messed up to the core, because she never dealt with any of it. she covered it up (even to the point of denying --- despte being confronted with evidence to the contrary --- that she had two brothers, not one).

anyway, my point being that if there is any value at all in therapy, for me at least, it was that it allowed me to forgive my mother. she was only human. just like me. and her life, like your mother's, was formed during the awful days of the depression.

sometimes you just have to let go.

Utah Savage said...

Thanks Anita, I needed to hear that again. She is of mythic proportions for me. I need to put that view of myself living in her shadow, and being her only child and one she saw as competition. Maybe I'll use the pedestal for something more useful this year.

anita said...

i understand completely, utah. and i was concerned that you might perceive what i said as criticism, which was absolutely not my intent. i was just trying to share my own experiences dealing with the memories of my mother and her affect on my life. we all have our burdens to carry and deal with. all unique. the beauty of life, if you can call it that, is learning how to shed the burdens that we placed upon us due to no fault of our own.

anita said...

i meant to write "were placed" ...

Utah Savage said...

I'm so glad you're out and about again.

yellowdog granny said...

if it's not one thing is a mother..

they made us what we are today..good bad or indifferent..
sad at Christmas?...all that fake happinss makes me sad ..but then like everything it ends up pissing me off, and i deal with anger much better than sadness...chin up...tits out..jac

anita said...

utah, you use your "pedestal" quite well, as far as i'm concerned. just keep on doing what you're doing and all your fans (including myself) will be pleased as punch (or whatever!! tickled pink??? i can't get my cliche's right on this awful christmas day!!).