• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

December 26, 2007

How I Learned to Stop Hating My Mother

Share
younger woman and older woman smiling at each other

Photo Credit: Margo Silver

Special Offer

So the question of what made my mother such a catastrophically bad one never occurred to me until the other night, when I was dining with some girlfriends and talking about the uniquely feminine compromises and frustrations we were tussling with while working and raising kids. And it got me wondering what my mother's were and how they drove her to lose herself nightly in a bottle of Stoli.

After three failed rehabs, a couple of DUIs, and at least one serious flirtation with death, my mother quietly quit drinking for good about five years ago. Since then, we slipped into a peaceful détente and, terrified of testing it, never, ever talked about our 30-year war. But suddenly, I realized I needed to. Now that her mind was clear, now that I was in a place where understanding could take the place of judgment, I wanted to hear from her what the hell had happened. After all, we are mirror images of each other — blonde hair and blue eyes, high cheekbones and small builds — and I'm at that same age and stage of life that she was when everything fell apart for her.

I didn't want to chance it in person — we are both still too raw for that — but she did agree to get into it over the phone.

This is what I remember. Tiptoeing down the beige-carpeted stairs late at night, I poked my head far enough around the wall to peer into the living room, where my mother rocked in her navy-blue chair, swigging cheap white wine. I stood, riveted, staring at her nighttime face, which was contorted with depthless rage. She never noticed me hidden in the shadows as her cigarette withered in the ashtray while she gesticulated wildly, thrusting her middle finger into the face of someone who wasn't there. This was my routine for years, compulsively spying on her, trying to figure out who this beautiful and smart and tortured woman was from a distance. I felt — no, I knew — she did not love me. Curled into a question mark, I cried myself to sleep every night.


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One winner will receive year's supply of makeup products from Dior and a year's supply of hair products from Tresemmé as selected by the Sponsor. A total prize package of 485!

One winner will receive year's supply of makeup products from Dior and a year's supply of hair products from Tresemmé as selected by the Sponsor. A total prize package of 485!

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From World News on Women
Is This The Most Condescending Political Ad Ever?

Women are obsessed with marriage, so picking a political candidate is kind of like saying yes to the dress.

This Act Could Put an End to Anti-Abortion Legislation

Women's right to choose is constantly at stake—but this might the solution.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue