Today is my least favorite annual celebration.
It’s the day when I allow myself to play the victim. It’s the only day when I want to be absent from social media to avoid all those posts from my friends who beg about how awesome their moms are. Some of them even change their profile pictures to pictures of them with their moms, making me cringe in jealousy.
How can I celebrate Mother’s Day I feel that I have no mother figure in my life?
My biological mother passed away when I was very young due to health complications after giving birth to me. The only memory I knew of her was listening to stories about her, especially how she kept her relationship with my father a secret because they had different religions. My mother finally converted to Christianity before getting married to my father, but when she passed away, she was buried with Moslem ritual.
Years after my mother’s death, my relatives from her side of the family kept comparing my facial features to hers. Whenever I met them, they always gathered around me and threw ‘compliments’ such as “You have your mother’s nose”, “You look like your mother”, and so forth. I felt like being compared to someone I didn’t know. It felt totally awkward for me.
Long story short, my grandparents from my father’s side decided to take care of me after my mother passed away. Basically, they raised me as their own. However, we were two generations apart; therefore, problems often arose because they didn’t know how to talk to me. My relationship with my grandpa is okay, but not so much with my grandma.
My grandma is someone that you can categorise as a “female alpha”. She is the breadwinner of the family, an active member of the church, and a very busy person, both on weekdays and weekends. This active lifestyle makes her feel like she could take control of everything. Oftentimes, she can come across as manipulative, such as playing “I’m an elder” card whenever she feels cornered. She is the reason for me being too calculated and the source of my insecurity, that she will always be better than me and I cannot do anything that can impress her.
When I was a baby, my grandparents decided to hire a babysitter to help them taking care of me. In Indonesia, it is considered normal to hire a babysitter to help you with newborns. Usually, parents hire sitters until the kid becomes a toddler. However, my case was special. I parted ways with my babysitter when I was 19 years old.
In my opinion, she is the closest thing I have to a mother figure because she literally raised me as mothers do. I even called her “Mama” until now. However close I was to her, I couldn’t ask for her advice on personal things or shared my negative feelings about things that bothered me. Whenever I did, she kept saying things around “Be patient, one day you’ll get out of here, you’ll get a nice job, and you don’t have to rely on your parents/grandparents anymore”. Her words come true, but they shape me to be a person who thinks that I have to provide for myself and they shape a thought that my family is not going to help me; I’m the only person who can help myself. On one side, she shapes me to be a strong-willed and an independent girl. On the other side, I become a non-family oriented person.
Those are stories of the people I suppose to call “mom”, but I can’t. I don’t know my biological mother, my grandma is a manipulative person, and my babysitter shapes me to be a non-family oriented woman. I purposely don’t share my story with my stepmother, simply because there’s nothing to talk about. We have never been close since the beginning, and she has two daughters from her marriage with my father. Of course, she puts more thoughts to her daughters than me.
I guess I will always hate Mother’s Day for years to come.