I loved her, but I also feared her.
I could not understand how it was possible to feel two such intensely different emotions toward the same person at the same time.
But she was my mother.
That was the only explanation that mattered.
I loved her.  I truly did.  Even in the worst moments.  I still loved her.
She was good to us in ways.
She got us toys for Christmas and our birthdays.
We got new clothes a couple of times a year. (I was still wearing teddy bear sets in 4th grade, slightly embarrassing, but still…)
My sisters and I each had our own rooms, and we had a playroom in the attic.
She made sure we had fun family outings some weekends.  We would go play mini golf, or go to Boston for the day.  We went to the occasional Red Sox game.  She even took us on a couple of her vacations (though she went on quite a few without us).
Overall, she was good to us.

But then there were other times.
I would be terrified of her.
When my mother got angry, it was like staring in the face of a dragon.
You wanted to run, but you knew you couldn’t.  If you did you would wind up in the clutches of the dragon, and that was an even more terrifying place to be.
She would smack us on the bottom, or back, or arm, or whatever she could reach as you cringed and ducked.
Sometimes she would shove us.  I remember one day watching her as she threw my sister up against the wall.
You couldn’t stop her, or tell her no. 
She never left long-lasting marks. I never saw it as child abuse.
It was what it was.
My mother was also very big on threats.
She would threaten to hit us with either her hand or with the wooden spoon.
The scariest as a child were her threats to call DSS and have them take us away.
She used to tell us if we went to DSS we would go somewhere bad, and people wouldn’t want us.
We would end up in bad families. 
I never knew if she would go through with it or not. 
My mother had a power, a threatening, looming power.  It terrified me.
I loved her and feared her. 

As I got older, I became less and less afraid of her and lost more and more respect for her. 
Now, I love her, and I no longer fear her. 
She no longer holds that power over me.
Because of her I grew stronger.
She tried to hit me once a few years ago, but I blocked her. 
I had this fury within me.
She could see it, she could feel it. 
She backed down.
She hasn’t tried to hit me since then
I love her, but no longer fear her.

I have vowed to never be that kind of mother.
To love someone and fear them at the same time is an unexplainable feeling.
It is living in the in between.  
A place of uncertainty
A place where no child should be.