There is no other word that can more accurately describe the feelings I had. Why should others receive from my mother what I so strongly desired, yet was denied? I could hear it in the lilt of her voice; I could see it in the softening of her face. And I first noticed it in relation to my sisters-in-law. She seemed to genuinely like them. She said nice things about them and to them. She enjoyed visiting with them. As much as I myself liked these new women in the family, it hurt that they were so quickly able to have an affectionate relationship that was beyond my grasp. I saw the hugs, I heard the words, “I love you, too”. And I was intensely jealous.
Later, it was the children of my brothers. I would hear about how cute they are and how smart they are. I would hear about the nice cards they sent on her birthday and for Mother’s Day and how pleased she was with them. She would brag about their accomplishments and their activities and their dreams. Yes, that, too, made me jealous. I never saw any of that spirit exhibited towards my children, even though they, too, were cute, they were smart, they sent cards, and they had accomplishments and dreams.
Often over the years I would agonize on how to break the silence, the sterility of our relationship. Always the obedient and dutiful daughter, inside I longed for a relationship of love and tenderness, affection and pride. I would see the easy, fun and loving relationship some of my friends had with their mothers and feel … jealous.
If she had died in her 80’s – there is a lesson I would never have learned. I’m glad she didn’t die in her 80’s.