I don't often go down this road. But spending a week with my mother brings it out. My mom is the type of woman who (at least it seems like) loves tragedy. On Weds, she found out that a friend of hers had died. So, while hanging out with us, she spent a lot of time on the phone with his wife asking how she was doing, finding out arrangements, and helping her notify other friends. All necessary things when someone dies. (I hate it that I know all this). Anyway - one of the people she called had a lot going on - his daughter has MS, his wife was in the hospital, and he cat needed to go into surgery. She got off the phone with him and said - this man is an angel! Going through all his has in his life, and taking the time to worry about Bob and making sure he goes to the funeral.
Yeah. What an angel. She NEVER said ANYTHING like that to me. I was dealing with my son's first birthday, the death of my daughter in my own house, a baby girl with awful acid reflux and a milk allergy, the death of my father, finding out I needed to dig a well (12K we didn't happen to have in our back pocket).... WHAT ABOUT ME! Seriously. And that is all after going through the 3 years previous in which I dealt with infertility, an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage and my FIL having a major stroke and now being totally incapacitated.
This has been a lifelong thing. I have done amazing things in my life. I've finished an ironman triathlon. I've swum 10 miles in the Boston harbor. I've swum Alcatraz. I was all American in college in swimming. My boat almost won nationals in crew in college (it was actually a photo finish - took 30 minutes to decide who won). I graduated with honors from college. I'm a VP at work. And she sends me a cut-out from the newspaper about this guy that swam Alcatraz... and the whole thing about how it was a life long goal of his. Her note? "Look at what a big deal this guy made about this!". How do I explain that it IS a big deal to swim Alcatraz. Jesus. She just assumes I can do it. Which in some strange way is good, I guess.
Never, ever, has my mother told me I am amazing. Never. And sometimes I just want to shake her and scream WHAT THE FUCK. But I also don't want to sit here and list out all the shit I've gone through and make her worry either. Because I am OK. My life is wonderful. But maybe, just once, she could realize that I'm a survivor. Just a little pat on the back. But I know I won't. And sometimes it pisses me off.