Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism


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Mother-Son relationships: “You’re raising a wimp!”

There’s so much material on father-daughter relationships in the fundamentalist groups these days as well as plenty of material on the issue of “emotional incest” within the purity movements. In short, a very close father-daughter relationship is supposed to make the girls grow up to be pure princesses who will not sleep with any man, won’t end up as drunk drug addicted teen pregnant sluts and will make awesome wives, simply and only because they stayed absolutely pure.

While there is this strong emphasis on the value of a very close father-daughter relationship, there is another emphasis on mother-son relationships. These aren’t considered to be as beneficial to the developement of sons – actually, quite the opposite. A strong, involved mother will rather turn a son into a wimpy little boy who will never be able to be “manly” in any way. This attachment to their mothers will turn into something they can’t cut off. They’ll never be able to “leave their parents” because his mother will be more important than his wife. Yes, those sons will turn into men who cry because their wives call them losers. They will cry when they realize they made a terribly wrong decision. They will cry for every reason a woman is typically supposed to cry.

I remember how my parents encouraged us daughters to seek their help and support for every problem we had. The emphasis is on their. They believed a daughter needed both parents’ care to grow into a good woman. Their were both equally important. For my brothers, however, things were a little different. Asking Mom for help was discouraged – they were supposed to come to Dad with everything. A lot of times, Mom wasn’t even informed when something was wrong with the boys, she wasn’t asked for advice or anything. My Dad would just go ahead and work out the problems by himself, telling Mom only after everything had been worked out that there was a problem to begin with. It’s not uncommon at all that Mothers almost push their sons away in order to make them grow into strong, manly men. A mother can’t even do much with a son! The daughters she can involve in her daily life. They can help her clean, care for the babies, cook and do laundry. Boys can’t do that. Boys must do things boys do – play in the garden, make something, play knight and dragon. Mom doesn’t have time for it and even if she did, she would probably prefer to spend some girl time with her daughters. Too much time spent together makes boys way too attached to that first woman in their lives.

While a daughter’s heart is supposed to belong to her Dad and her Dad only (see purity balls etc), a boy’s heart is never supposed to belong to his mother only. A boy’s heart is free, it belongs to him. If his heart wasn’t free in this sense, he would have to ask his mother for her opinion and, finally, for her approval, if he had picked out a girl he wanted to court. And that is simply impossible – a woman lacks the ability to make sound, godly decision. After all, her head is her husband, not God directly. She cannot know what God wants because he can’t tell her – only her husband can. You see where this is going – a woman is simply unable to be a mother in a spiritual sense because she simply lacks the spiritual ability and permission – and if you can’t be, shouldn’t be a “spiritual mother”, you might want to be careful about all the other ways to be a mother. A woman’s advice, care and involvement can’t do any good for a boy’s developement. At the end of the day, it will be his Dad and his Dad only who makes the final call as the head of the home. A son’s mother is degraded merely to an incubator, a feeder and caretaker for the first year of life. After that, her influence can only be damaging.

Today I found this very interesting article here. And I realized that much of it is true.

You see, my boyfriend is one of those “wimpy sons”. At first it kind of scared me, almost… disgusted me. I thought he was too attached to his mother. His Mom is a lovely Lady. She is very very quiet and calm, very emotional and very introvert. All of these character qualities are true for Daniel. He is the exact copy of his mother, at least when it comes to character and personality. He was sort of her favourite child. While his siblings had a much stronger relationship with their Dad, who is the exact opposite of his wife, he was Mama’s boy. Until today they have a very very close relationship. If he has problems, questions or anything, he will ask his mother first. Once a week they meet up to spend quality time together. They usually rent a movie, or go for pizza, or simply have a cup of coffee somewhere. It’s an important thing for both of them.

I’m sure you can imagine just how confusing this was for a fundamentalist child like me. He clearly picked the wrong parent! He should be doing all of that with his Dad. Everything else makes him a wimp.

Except that it doesn’t.

He can very well make decisions without his Mom holding his hand. He is disciplined, loving and caring, a hard worker, emotionally connected, strong in relationships, honest and protective. How could it be that he displays all of those qualities when he grew up being Mommy’s boy?

Could it be that listening to a woman’s advice doesn’t make a man soft and weak? Could it be that a child might not be focused on the parent of the same gender but rather on the parent with the same personality? Could it be that an involved mother doesn’t make a man weak but strong and appreciative of female qualities, respecting a woman the same way he respects his mother – as an intelligent human being capable of making sound decisions and giving advice that you can actually listen to?


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No inspiration but a quick thought

I’m feeling really uninspired lately. I just wanted to share a spot we saw on TV a while ago.

I remember I was sitting there on the couch with my roommate, we had another friend over and we actually grew silent while this was running, waiting what the end of it would be. It’s pretty much wordless, and you won’t even need to understand the three words spoken to understand what it’s about. Of course, I’ll tell you anyway, the girl asks “Mom, is this grandpa?”

(“Be there for old people for as long as they are there”)

This just made me so sad.I sat there, thinking about what I had just seen and wondering if it’s going to be that way in my family. I’m so afraid that there might come a day I just don’t care enough any more. Days where holding grudges over the past is so much more important than the presence. Of course I had problems with my parents. Of course I wish things would’ve been different between us back then. But, as stupid as it sounds, I do not want any of this for my parents.

It kind of gave me a new push of energy to work things out, not in a way that I submit or just shut up for the sake of peace, but actually trying my best to get along.

Anything strange like this that made you think about your life lately?


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Preparing for marriage and kids

Much of the way girls are raised in the QF/P movements is to prepare them for married life. Of course, some families and communities support college for girls to ensure a well-rounded character (within the limits of that group or family, of course). You will typically see girls and young women taking online courses on things such as literature, culture, nursing and other medical classes, nutrition and so on. It’s easy to tell that all of this is things you can use at home, either to teach your own girls the beautiful girly things (literature), to be able to perform first aid and to cook a well-balanced meal. You’ll hardly ever see these girls taking classes like law, architecture or physics. It’s just not a useful thing to know as a wife and mother.

But among the most important preparations to be a wife is child-rearing. Of course there’s always children around. If the family doesn’t have enough children on their own the daughters will help other big families and perform ministries that prepare them for a lot of kids.

My family was lucky enough to have a big bunch of kids that I could prepare with. Except that I didn’t feel like I was being prepared at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings more than anything. I simply didn’t have the patience to take care of 4-6 kids at a time. If I had only one or two I was fine. That seemed easy to me. I was able to stay in relative control of the situation. But as soon as there were 3 or more, things got really messy. You know how kids are, they scream, run and tease each other. They fight. They might play nice for half an hour and suddenly one starts crying for one reason or another.

I had a completely different style of relating to my siblings than my mother did. My Mom was always a good Mom, but she was very much a hen. It started to upset me that she acted this way with the younger ones when I was in my teens, knowing that she would “ruin” what I had accomplished the day before. Whenever one of the kids got hurt – and you know they fall or hurt themselves a lot – she focused on the tiniest things. If one fell outside in the garden and barely even scratched his or her knee, she would swoon all over the little one, showering it with pity and hugs and kisses and sentences like “Oh it looks so bad. Does it hurt? My poor baby!”. I caught myself rolling my eyes more than once a day at that. It was barely a scratch! It didn’t bleed! She fell on the grass, it couldn’t possibly hurt that much! But no, my Mother had them sit on their lap for about 10 minutes, letting them cry, telling them how bad it is and so on. Whenever one fell when I was close, I grabbed them, sat them on the kitchen counter, checked their knees and cleaned them if necessary, told them it’s not bad at all and quickly changed to a cheerful conversation of what we had to do next. As long as Mom wasn’t close, they quickly forgot about their tiny hurts and started laughing again. But whenever Mom was in range, they’d scream my ears off and push me away so they could get Mom’s attention. I mean, I understand that this was partially because it meant individual time with Mom, but it upset me that I had to deal with a cranky little one for 30 minutes just because Mom had to put so much attention to tiny matters. Once the little one came back from Mom, it would stand a bit further away, hugging a teddy or a blanket, and when the other ones asked the little one to come back to play, they’d say something along the lines of “I can’t. I’m hurt badly.” Eye rolling from me.

On other occasions, I felt so overwhelmed by the sheer needs of the kids. I remember days where I had only 2 or 3 of them to watch, that wasn’t many kids at all! And yet I could be close to tears and feel so ashamed for being unable to deal with that little kids. I felt like I was going to make a terrible wife.

I remember one occasion where I had 2 of the boys and one of the smaller girls to watch. They played in the boy’s room while I was sorting through their closet. They jumped on the beds, played dragon and princess and screamed bloody hell. I was exhausted that day, I had gotten up even earlier than usual, got scolded by my parents for not doing some chores the day before (because I didn’t have time, just to add that) and had to those chores as well as the new ones. And the screaming of the kids made me incredibly angry. I stood there repeating over and over “Keep it down guys!” – “Be careful, don’t jump!” – “Don’t hit your sister with a stick!” – “Keep it DOWN!”. This went on for about 20 minutes and wouldn’t stop, so I turned around, grabbed them all by their arms, had them look at me and told them to either keep it down and play nice or to go outside. The oldest of the three, my brother, laughed at me and said “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not Mom!”. I grabbed his arm a bit harder and said, very seriously: “Mom told me to watch you. I CAN tell you what to do!” He kept laughing and wriggled his arm free. He them took his “sword” and yelled: “LISA IS THE DRAGON! ATTACK!” and all three of them started whacking at me with their swords, my little sister grabbed one too even. The other two were too small to really get it. Oh wow was I angry. I was feeling tears in my eyes and an incredible urge to – excuse me – beat my brother with anything I could find. Instead, I took his sword away, grabbed him by the arms and held him, yelled at the two small ones to sit down RIGHT NOW, dragged my brother to the bathroom and sat him down on the toilet and told him to stay there until I called him back in. He screamed and screamed at me, face red, kicked at me, the full show. The other two started crying because I had yelled at them, my brother ran off and screamed and cried and left me sitting in the bathroom. I locked myself in for half an hour to calm down and cry some.

I was so ashamed of being such a terrible mother. I couldn’t even control 3, how should I ever managed 10 or more? And this is just one example. This happened so often, me trying to be nice and not use any violence and ending up with something like that – me defeated, the kids winning and laughing at me. I would never make a good mother.

And then again, there were situations were I got upset at my sisters for doing what they were supposed to do. I remember one occasion where one of my smaller sisters, she was 5 or 6 at that time, played with the real small ones of another family. The little girl was just starting to walk and wanted to explore, of course. My little sister kept holding her hand and helping her around. But she wanted to play doll with that little girl, so she kept sitting the little one on her lap. The little one struggled to get away from my sister to play with the other kids, who were playing and running around on the grass. My sister kept holding her. When the little one started to wail because she couldn’t get away from my sister, my sister started to “console” the crying little one, sang songs and rocked it back and forth. She didn’t get the little one didn’t want to stay. The others ran over and asked my sister to come play but she replied “I can’t. I have the baby and she’s crying.”. I watched the scene and felt anger rise up in me. Why was she so insistent to keep the baby? The little one cried more and more, my sister looking all serious, asking what’s wrong, shhhing it, singing and looking like a little Mom, while watching the others play. And that was the point where I lost my patience. I went over to her and told her that the baby didn’t want to sit on her lap. She answered “Yes she doesn, she’s crying can’t you see?”. I told her the baby was crying because she was holding it. She let it go then and the baby quickly got to her feet and started walking away, now happy again. I turned around to go away, after a few steps looking back at the scene just to see my sister off to catch the baby again, forcing it on her lap, doing the same thing. NOW I was angry. I stomped over to her, took the baby away and yelled at her:

“Stop it! Quit acting like you’re a grown up! You’re a kid, go play! YOU’RE NOT A GROWN UP! You’re not supposed to play baby’s Mom!”

I can’t explain where that came from. She was supposed to do exactly that. But seeing it made me so angry. She started crying and ran inside. I let the baby down, the baby just being happy to be finally free. But I felt so bad. Had I just yelled at my sister for doing what we were trying to teach her? She ran to my parents and told them about it, my Dad coming outside to yell at me what I was thinking, that I did the wrong thing and I should let her play with the baby. I went inside, excusing myself, to cry about my weird behaviour. I didn’t get why I said that. I didn’t get why it made me so angry. Once again I felt ashamed for being such a terrible mother.

You see, while all of that was supposed to prepare me for married life and kids, it instead scared me. It made me feel inadequate and stupid. Until this day I feel like the only thing it taught me was that I neither want nor am able to have more than two kids myself. I feel like I have already raised enough kids in my life and doing it again doesn’t seem like something I want to do any time soon. The fact that I love my siblings doesn’t change that I don’t feel suited to raise kids. I keep wondering, if I didn’t have this many siblings, our family would’ve been so different, I might have never left, and might have gotten married, and might have ended up with 10 myself. I’d be thrown into the cold water just to realize that I’m not made for that. I guess I’m glad I could at least learn that.


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My Mom, school, life

Phew, there’s been a bunch of changes and events in my life lately. I though it would be a good idea to write about it for a little bit.

The first thing is that I’m extremely thrilled that my Mom actually called me yesterday to “chat”. Like, out of the blue! There’s no special event or special day or any other occasion that would give her a good enough reason to call me. She actually called me just to talk. And the great thing is, she didn’t have any news to tell me! Why’s that great you might ask yourself now. Well, our calls have been nothing but an exchange of major news ever since I left. The few times we talked there was always an important reason for her to call me. But this time there was nothing up at all! So she must have called me because she just wanted to talk to me and that’s great. She called me “Häschen” which means “little bunny”, she used to call me that when I was younger but not much any more ever since my courtship, actually. I guess she felt it wasn’t appropriate any more. She asked me how I’m doing in school and about my job and my friends and all that. And not in an annoying “you’re doing the wrong thing and I disapprove of your lifestyle” way. Just sounded like genuine curiosity. We also talked about the possibility of her visiting me and she said she is working on it, seeing if she can make it and asked me if there was enough room to bring the smaller ones along because she doesn’t want to leave them back. I really really hope that works out.

Something that… well… seemed a bit strange, to say the least, was the fact that she didn’t speak very nicely of Dad. I asked her what he would say if she came to visit and she told me that she didn’t care and that he’s “in sin” lately. I do not know what she could possibly mean, there’s so many options of what that could be… I guess I’ll find out.

And one more shocking thing happened. See, I did not really tell my parents about the fact that I have a boyfriend. I guess I just don’t want them to think I’ve gone completely worldly… But he’s involved in so many parts of my life that I have a hard time hiding him when I talk about my daily life. So I figured I’d just straight out tell my Mom. I meant, if she actually came to visit she would find out anyway and I don’t think that would be a nice situation for her and everybody else, being confronted like that. So I told her “Mom, I have to tell you… I have a boyfriend…” and what she said silenced me for a while:

“Oh, I know.”

My jaw dropped, to say the least! After what felt like a minute of recovering I asked “How, I mean, what?? How??”

My Mom laughed and just said: “You know, my sister has never been good at keeping secrets.”

I’m glad my Mom wasn’t hurt by me not telling her earlier and finding out through my aunt, we talked about it for a little while and while she didn’t seem like she wanted to know details, she asked some superficial questions about him (job, age and that) and his family as well. I guess it went well.

 

As for the rest of the week… I was very excited for visiting days at the different universities around, I still am because I’m going to look at some more schools, but I went to the closest one this week and I had an absolute blast!

There was a very nice mentor, a student herself, who showed us around and explained everything. She is actually younger than me but I felt like the little girl. She told us this was her first time as a newbie mentor and she was really bubbly and fun, and she blushed many times whenever somebody asked her a question, but that just made me more comfortable, knowing I’m not the only newbie. She gave us a list of lectures we could visit, helped us pick some out and told us where to go. I went to a literature lecture on the Victorian age and I had a lot of fun there, the teacher was about 35-40 and he had this funny way of speaking… like, really passionate. He talked about the marriage of Queen Victoria and showed letters and her diary and read them out, and at one point he giggled and squealed “How romantic!” when he read the entry on her wedding night.

After that, I went to a law lesson. Boy that is one tough thing to study! Everybody there looked so fancy – kind of lawyer-ish, haha – and it was A LOT of confusing stuff. I can’t really explain but it was very confusing, so many different laws on the same thing with a lot of cross references to other laws and also the language seems so foreign and intelligent, and really a lot of stuff you have to memorize. I felt a bit overwhelmed and I just heard one lesson, I can only imagine how much they have to memorize for the test! But, I don’t know, I didn’t think I’d say this, but it made me really curious and I’m definitely going to look into law.

After those two lessons, my group met back up with our mentor and she guided us to the cafeteria and had lunch with us. She answered all our questions on student life in that particular city and on university life. She was so sweet and tried to get the fear out of us. She also told us some stories about her first semesters, which was funny and partially embarrassing (for her) but she laughed and told us to wait, the exact same would happen to us.

In the afternoon I heard a lesson in History of Art, it was one on medieval churches. That was very, very interesting but I recognized that the students in there obviously had a lot of background that I didn’t have. But that’s what university is for, right? But hearing about some styles was amazing and it really sparked my interest.

The last I heard was a culture class about the jewish in Europe in medieval times. I heard so much information that I didn’t know before and it was fascinating. I always think of terrible things when I hear “Middle Age”, so it was kind of eye-opening that people weren’t stupid at all, just different. Another thing I was really surprised by!

After the last lesson we again met back up with our mentor. We had a coffee together and just chatted some more. She also gave us some materials about the school and the city and everything.

I was really fascinated by university life. It’s not what I imagined it to be – no sex talk everywhere, not full of people having sex wherever they go, not full of teachers who lurk on stupid female students who are exploited… Just normal, peaceful people who are working very hard.

Wow, if you’re still reading, you really made it through this rant! I guess I’ll finish here, but I’ll be back with more stories and school!


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Updates on my family

I hope of all of you, my wonderful readers, had a quiet and relaxed easter time. Of course, it’s never really quiet if you celebrate it… Cooking, cleaning, shopping, all that holiday stuff. But if you’re honest with yourself, you probably had fun with that, too and it was worth it! So back to every day life now.

Over easter my aunt called my mother for some chatting and exchanging news and such. I was there too and I actually talked to my Mom for quite a while.

I think my Mom is in the process of forgiving me, somehow. I don’t know why I think that, I guess it’s just the way she talks to me – or talked to me, on that day. I mean, she was so normal. She tried to avoid religious topics and I mean, easter would’ve been a great day to remind me of redemption and salvation and all that, but she didn’t go there. She wished me happy easter and asked what I’ve been doing over the holidays. She listened and was very interested in my stories. Where I went for lunches and dinners, who the people and families are, how I know them, what they do for a living and such. Like, I don’t know… she seemed interested in my life now, not judging me, nothing.

I also asked her what they have been doing, how the holidays went and if there was anything new the last weeks. We talked for a bit on my birthday but due to the difference in time zones and the fact that I worked on my birthday, it was a really short conversation. We had much more time this weekend.

Well, there are some news about my family. My Mom told me that my brother – the oldest one who came after me – got engaged last week. I didn’t even know he was courting and I thought he must’ve been courting back in October when I was in the states, so you can imagine that I reacted hurt to those news. Just because nobody told me. My Mom explained that they weren’t officially courting yet at that point and that it was just my brother talking to the young woman’s Dad at that point. So yeah, it’s normal to not even tell close family because there still might be gossip and it might get hopes up. They started their official courtship mid-November and, as I said, got engaged last week.

I know the girl he’s engaged to, but not very well. She’s from a family we had loose contact with. Her family isn’t as strict as mine (that I know of) and she lives a 30 minute drive away from my family, so they could actually see each other every other day and had many meetings during their close to 6 month courtship period. She’s a very nice girl but much younger than me and every time I saw her, she was very very quiet and shy and we hardly ever talked because she prefered to sit quiet next to her parents. That’s ok, of course, but I can’t really say much about her except that she seems very nice. She’s just 18 so a 6 year difference between me and her might be a reason why I never talked to her on a friendship base but much more on an older sister/babysitter base. Anyways, I’m happy for the two, she’s so precious and genuinely nice and loving, and of course I love my brother. I just hope that he won’t act like a copy of my Dad and that he’ll treat her right and not like a tyrant. I’m actually a bit worried for her but what can I do? I hope for the best.

It’s just one more situation that shocks me, kind of. I might be an aunt within the next year, year and a half. If things went differently, I’d have one or two kids by now. Being an aunt would feel different. It makes me feel like I’m actually younger than my brother, sort of. I feel almost like a child compared to his situation, but I know that’s not true. We simply live in different worlds.

Other than that, my Mom and I also talked about my sister… And I told my mother to see a doctor about it. She’s really not dealing well with it. She said that Dad has become very strange and quiet and I think he might be depressive. But the same goes for my Mom, it’s just a different way of showing it. I don’t know why but it somehow went by me. The big depression, I mean. It’s like all of that happened in another universe, kind of removed from my existence here. Of course I’m sad, of course it hurts, that’s not the point. It’s more like the realisation still hasn’t sunk in, or if it did, maybe I’m just dealing with it on a different level. There are always going to be big loses in life, but the world doesn’t stop and wait for you. You have to keep pushing yourself, or you’ll get lost and never find your way back into life. I think the world has still stopped for my Mom. I feel like she needs help and she said she was going to talk to a doctor about it. I’ll somehow try to make sure she really does it.

My other siblings are fine. They all sat together on the phone once the major conversation with my Mom was over and asked me for a lot of things. My sisters seemed so curious and excited to know about my life now. Especially the older ones… I think they might be questioning if their way is the only way. My brothers didn’t talk much, at least the older ones, because, you know, they didn’t really seem interested and we never had that close of a relationship as I did with the girls. The deep talks weren’t what they come to me for. But the smaller ones were very interested to know about this weird country I live in and asked some funny questions. Do we have microwaves too? Are we allowed to vote? What are the cars like??? They have a boyish fascination with cars and I was a bit sad I couldn’t satisfy them with my answers… I know nothing about cars!

I didn’t talk to my Dad, though. My Mom said he wasn’t in the mood and he was praying and bible studying anyway. He seems to do that a lot now, more than ever. I think he’s still very angry at me. But what can I do? I apologized more than once. I tried to make him understand that I’m not rejecting him as a person. There’s only so much I can do.

All together it was a very nice weekend for me. The phone call with my Mom and siblings gave me so much energy and happiness. I asked my Mom if she would visit me some time this year. She could see her family and go places she liked and show me the places where she went as a girl… I told her it would be so much fun. And I would love her to meet my friends and see what I do these days. She told me she would see what she could do. I told her that I would help her pay for the flight as well and my aunt already said that she’ll be there for financial support as well. I don’t know, that would be like a dream come true but I can’t get my hopes up. I know my family is pretty poor and I actually make so much money with my lousy job that I could afford to pay half of the ticket if I saved for a few months. I know my family would have a very hard time paying for it… Maybe the financial situation will improve once my brother is out of the house (one less mouth to feed, so to say). I’ll see, I guess.


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A letter to somebody

I wish I had a mother like the others. One who has time for me and gives me advice. One who loved me despite my different opinions. One who stood up for me when I needed it the most.

And I wish I could be the daughter you always wanted to have. I wish I could do exactly the things you always dreamed of me doing, be the perfect little girl you imagined I’d be.

It’s funny how impossible it seems from my point of view. How impossible to be who you want me to be. How impossible must it be for you to be who I want you to be?

I feel like I can’t even talk to you. I’m wondering if you’re waiting for me to call. To talk to you about all the bad things that happened ever since I left. It’s funny to me. How a loneliness so big in two people yet doesn’t manage to build a bridge over the gap. We’re in the same room, with back turned to each other. I can’t even see you.

Sometimes I feel… split. There’s this girl I’ve heard of, who grew up in this fundamentalist family, and I know her story. I think a friend told me about her? Well, she left. I don’t know what happened after that. She disappeared into nothingness. And then there’s me. I was born, and I was already 22 when that happened. I didn’t have a childhood or teen years. I was born 22. I don’t know this other girl they say I used to be. I can’t be. How could I possibly be her if I’m so different? How could I possibly be her?

Sometimes I despise this girl. She left her family. You don’t leave your family. She can’t be a very good person. I on the other hand, I’m a good person. I just flutter through life, like a moth. I try to follow the light whenever I can catch a glimpse of it.

Maybe it helps me to think of myself this way. Being born at adult age means I have no family I could abandon. I don’t have to call them either.

I just can’t face my siblings. My parents. I don’t want to speak of my sister. It’s all not me.

Sometimes I think of this girl, it’s like a movie. And I realize that this is me. This is me. And then I have to ask myself, what did you do? Why did you do that? I wish it wouldn’t exist. I wish I could be … not her. I wish I could leave forever and go somewhere nobody knows me, and tell a beautiful story of two loving parents who unfortunately died in a car accident. No, I don’t have any brothers or sisters. It’s just me and that’s all there’ll ever be.

But I can’t.

Mom, can’t you make the world start all over and we’ll give it another try? We’ll make it better this time, I promise.


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Who is their mother?

Dear Mom,

You delivered every single one of my siblings. You had them.

But once they were born, you gave them to me.

You were training them.

I was kissing them.

You were spanking them.

I comforted them.

You were their home school teacher.

I answered the questions they didn’t dare to ask you.

You cooked dinner.

I spoon-fed them.

You were busy with the new babies.

I played with the older ones.

You had to sleep a lot because it was so exhausting.

I took care of them the many hours of the day you couldn’t.

You were changing the diapers of the babies, breastfeeding them, while talking to Dad.

Meanwhile, I read the bedtime stories, kissed them goodnight and tucked them in.

You were busy with other things, taking care of other families, baking for church meetings.

I made sure they were washed and dressed, made sure nobody got into a fight.

You sent them outside to play because it was too much for you.

I kissed their bloody knees better when they fell.

Dear Mom, you are many things. Trainer, teacher, chef, servant of the community, wife and many others. But there is one thing you are not: Their mother. Who is?