How My Mother Raised Me Despite Not Having a Mother Herself.

The impact of my mother’s relationship with her mother on our relationship

Jai Burgette
Human Parts
Published in
9 min readAug 24, 2023

--

The author being held by her mother right after birth.

At seven years old, my grandmother told me my mother was poor. I knew she shouldn’t have said that to me, and I looked at her to see if she had an explanation, but she didn’t. I spent that night in her guest room. I began to question why everyone else had more money in the family and if it was terrible that my mom was poor. Is it her fault? I wondered as I lay on the thick, pink, and white striped comforter, looking around the decorated room. My grandmother’s house was huge; there were three bedrooms, two bathrooms, both with showers, and another room in the two-car garage big enough to be a studio apartment.

The following day, my mother picked me up. She came in the door with a huge smile and her arms wide open as she waited for me to fall in them. I quickly ran to her, happy to feel her hug me. As we walked down the light grey cement driveway to the car, I couldn’t help but think about what my grandmother said. I realized I didn’t care about how much money my mom didn’t or did have. I sat in the back of my mother’s car and watched as the cars passed us on the street. I felt my mouth and throat get dry. My hands began to sweat as I felt like two walls were caving in on me. I only had two options, be a liar or hurt my mother’s feelings.

I looked up at the black-outlined rearview mirror. I watched my mother sing her heart out as the music played in the car. We made eye contact in the mirror, and I quickly looked away. “What’s wrong?” she asked me. “Nana said you’re poor,” I replied. I watched as her eyes became watery and her lips trembled while her voice cracked as angry words parted from her mouth. I wondered if I had done something wrong by telling her what my grandmother said. I told myself to be quieter. I never spent the night after that. Little did I know I would witness myself lose a relationship with my grandmother and my mom lose a relationship with her mother.

I was thirteen when we began visiting more frequently. I was not too fond of Sundays. I woke up, showered, dressed, and got in the car. I sat in the back seat and put my purple headphones in as my mother drove down the highway. “You’re going to lose your…

--

--

Jai Burgette
Human Parts

An individual with a passion for capturing life’s moments through writing. I believe everyone should be heard, but I like to be read instead.