'Look Mom, No Hands'-by Tracey Jackson


by Tracey Jackson


Today being Mother’s Day I could post some posies and a warm fuzzy greeting to all. Or I could go hightailing back to my original blogger roots of dragging some skeletons out of my familial closet and let them get some air.

I am as many of my readers know a card carrying member of the estranged from my mother club.  Now there are many of us out there. I am aware of this as whenever I post these types of blogs, emails come flying in declaring “Me too.”

Mind you it’s not a club anyone really wants to join. Your membership is often thrust upon you, or the result of having to make some tough choices in the name of self-preservation.

I truly believe that all daughters want to be connected to their mothers. All daughters desire loving, reciprocal, nurturing mother daughter connections. Now perhaps all people want a Mercedes convertible and to be a size four too. Not everything in life is possible, but it doesn’t mean we want it any the less.

In many cases what daughters long for is the connection to be merely non-toxic. If I can’t have nurture at least don’t give me nuclear.

We want so much for our parents not to be toxic that we are willing to overlook it for decades and take on their issues as our own. We are willing to try and pretend it doesn’t exist, and make up a  million excuses for what is at the end of the day merely unacceptable behavoir.

We spend years going woulda, coulda, shoulda, instead of just calling it like it is. Because really, calling it like it is is often times more painful than hanging in there, or so one thinks.  The truth is in these situations there is no easy answer, there is no way out without pain. Their is no elegant exit or stick around strategy. It hurts to stay and it throbs to walk away.

In the case with toxic parents, you want them to be there, you want to be there for them, you want Mother’s Day and birthdays, and accomplishments and problems to be shared.  But what you want most of all is for them not to be toxic. It’s like the child of a drunk, they still want their mommy or daddy: They just want their mommy or daddy not to drink. I don’t think any child (despite the fact I turn 53 this week I am still two people’s child) wants to be totally cut off from their parents. I’m not sure they even truly want different parents.  I don’t want a different mother, I just want the one I have to behave in a different manner.

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t play out 8000 different fantasies of the way it could be. But, I’m sort of old enough now to know it’s not going to happen.

I’m sitting in Menlo Park, alone, my mother is 300 miles away, that is nothing in California terms, California miles are like dog years, it would be so easy and nice for her to have come up here this weekend. We could have gone to the spa and had lunch and spent Mother’ s Day together. I would have left today and flown to Santa Barbara to be with her. I would have liked that, if things were different.

I’m not going to go into why things are the way they are, that’s not a good thing, especially on Mother’s Day.

I would not have even brought this up if I had not received a really nasty email last night  chastizing me for “cutting my mother out of my life.”

I was sitting in the bar with my cousin Lorraine  after this amazing day at The LEAD Conference and I checked my  Blackberry and there was this nasty comment from someone I don’t know and who does not know a fraction of my story. But they decided to send a lashing  for me to post. The truly funny part is while they posted as anonymous. they used their nine year old daughter’s name as the email address.  Talk about not internet savvy and bad mother behavoir.

First off if took me about four minutes to figure out who they were, and even if I were pondering posting it, I wouldn’t do it to the child as it’s in the world forever, a nasty remark made by their mother, though attributed to them. And this woman was calling me a bad daughter.

What this woman (who is sure to have many problems with her own daughter if she’s using her as a shield now), doesn’t know is I want to be a good daughter.

I would love to be able to celebrate my mother tomorrow. I would love her to be a good grandmother and for her grandchildren to have what I had a really loving, present grandmother. What she also doesn’t know is my mother has an open invitaion to rejoin our family at any time, there are a few provisos, but the invitation is standing.

What this woman also doesn’t know is how  many times in the last few months I wanted to yell out “Look Mom No Hands.” Are you proud of me yet? Have I done enough yet? Can you love me now?

“Look mom no hands.” is a response most people have  from the time they take their first step until their parents take their last breath.

Taylor got the highest grade and won best campaign in her marketing class this semester. I was the first person she forwarded her teacher’s congratulatory email to.

“Look mom no hands.” I immediately got back to her and told her how proud I was and that was the best mother’s day gift in the world. Her accomplishment meant a lot to her, but it meant more when she could say “Look mom no hands” and she knew I would be prouder of her than she was of herself.

As I have been told by one expert after another, with my own mother there is no hope and it’s a diagnosis I just have to learn to live with.

All I can do is sometimes write a blog like this so everyone out there who is in the same boat feels a little less alone.

All I can do is make sure I’m always there  when my kids, no matter what age yell “Look mom no hands.”

All I can do is  make sure that as a result of my behavoir they they are never  forced to join the estranged daughters club.

And that my friends is how the universe give us second chances.

So for all of you with moms you are close to, honor them today, love them today and know how lucky you are.

For those of you like me, count the blessings you do have, love the family you have made  and realize no one gets it all.  It’s not your fault, as it is parent’s job to love their children  unconditionally, to not compete with them or deny them their independence.

And with that I will leave you with some posies.


Oh, and mom, Happy Mother’s Day.  No one gets why, but I do love you.  Look no hands.




Screenwriter/Director/and Author Tracey Jackson's new book:

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HOT PLACE-Why Fifty Is Not The New Thirty

is available now:http://tinyurl.com/42swzgu

Join me at: www.traceyjacksononline.com

Twitter: @TraceyJackson4

Facebook: Facebook.com/TraceyDJackson




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