(I posted this as a comment in Hillbillie's journal, but really it belongs here in mine.)
That's what my best friend told me to explain my mother.
I have many gifts from her:
All that weeding and picking taught me to garden, now that I don't need to ask for her permission for every move.
Making dinner every night from the age of eleven taught me about cooking everyday things with flair-now that I'm allowed to use ingredients I like.
Being responsible for cleaning the house from the age of 12 gave me the tools I need for my current job, not to mention the cleaning that is part of life.
Raising my brother equipped me to raise my sons.
Being hit taught me to hide things and live in fear, and that nobody really loves bullies.
Wanting love I never got taught me that I don't want to be a bully.
At the end of her life, my friends taught me that it's okay to feel a weird kind of joy when you get to give the order to disconnect life support.