May 05, 2011

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - An Ode to Mom

From my earliest memory, my mom and I have had a relationship filled with contrariness. You'd have thought that since I am the only girl in a family of five, that we would be close.

Nope. I never quite lived up to the daughter fantasy she had in her head...though she tried valiantly to make me into that image.

And me, being rebellious and stubborn to a fault, I never gave her the satisfaction of becoming her frilly little girl, even though I was clad in velvet and ruffles and other sartorial nonsense.

And for the years of complaints and abuse from her for my many failings, to her friends and family (out of earshot from me), I've recently heard that she boasted about what a good daughter I was.

An Ode to My Mother, Before and After Alzheimer's

O Mother, had I, when but a child
seen at home the smiling countenance you showed to others
as you spoke of my accomplishments,
and basked in the glow of maternal satisfaction
I might have listened to your admonishments
and acquiesced to your way of thinking
How could I know you had me in your heart
when all I saw was contempt in your eyes?
Wasting so much time when we both
wanted only my happiness?

Instead, I heard your disapproval
even if it was only a sigh, but more often
loud shouting about my many failings,
my misdeeds etched upon my brain
to remind me of my lack of worth.
I felt the sting of your words, and worse,
the slaps and punches and objects thrown
my way to tell me I was not good enough to be your daughter.
Quite a lesson to teach a child; hope for success is futile.
And you, envious of the refuge I took in my father's company.

Had you only told ME what you told THEM!
Praised me to my face, offering reassurance
Instead, I hear years later, of how you were proud
and pleased in my presence.
Now that your memory of me is all but gone,
and you did not know what name to put with my face
You had no recollection of me when I visited
Perhaps now, you will look kindly upon me
And think that this smiling stranger before you
With eyes like yours Is somebody's wonderful daughter.

This ode was inspired by a prompt at Mama Kat's.


  1. Your writing is beautiful. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.

  2. Wow. Totally got chills.

    I'm sorry your relationship with your mom was so rough. My mom never hit me, but the emotional abuse was pretty constant so I feel like I can relate. I'm glad that you at least know now that she was proud of you, even if she didn't tell you that... better now than never, I suppose.

    Hugs to you <3

  3. I'm so sorry you didn't have a great relationship with your mother. I can relate, as neither did I. And some of what you said - her disappointment, her sharp words, that rung true to me too. And yet, you chose to write about her, as did I. Mother-daughter relationships are funny like that.

  4. All we really want is our mom's approval and love. This is haunting. Hugs to you. xo

  5. This is haunting and powerful. Forgiveness eases the burden we bear even if it doesn't lessen the pain. Peace.

  6. I so feel the pain in your words and can relate. Although now my mother and I have a close relationship but it was very rocky growing up. I'm sorry that you don't get the chance to experience that. My heart breaks for you.

  7. I'm so very sorry this was your experience. Beautiful writing, but so sad this was what happened to you.

  8. Like Elena, I'm sorry your Mom and you did not have the type of Mother Daughter relationship you would have wanted.

    I loved your poem even as sad as it made me feel for you. You are a wonderful writer.

  9. The poem is lovely, bittersweet, and raw. It's sad that you didn't have a good relationship with your mother. But at least, you know that she was secretly proud of you!

  10. you are a wonderful writer, and im so glad you write about your relationship with your mother honestly. It hurts my heart.

  11. Very beautiful and heart felt. Thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from Mama Kats

  12. This just brought tears to my eyes. Hugs.


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