Sunday, May 8, 2011
Mother's Day is always a little weird for me, not only because I chose not to have kids in this lifetime but also because of the very complicated relationship I had with my mother. Elizabeth (as she preferred to be called, or we could call her Mama, but NEVER "Mommy" - she hated that) was a total character. Everyone loved her, everyone found her fascinating. She was a great progressive thinker, a believer in the cause of the moment. She fought for Civil Rights and Women's Rights with a great passion. During the late 1960's she painted a huge, orange day-glo peace sign in our suburban Kansas City picture window, her way of letting everyone know she was against the Vietnam War.
Wow. That took guts in the neighborhood I grew up in. She was very idealistic, and very very brave.
That said, mothering was never her best thing. She loved us dearly, even me, the child she never quite "got." But she didn't really have the whole nurturing thing going on. She used to bristle at the idea of "raising" children. "Children raise themselves!" she would declare, as if mothering would, in some way, stifle us. It's true, we did raise ourselves more or less. She did what she could, and what she couldn't, she didn't.
I have absolutely no resentment about any of that, btw.
My mother used to look at me as if I had arrived by spaceship from another planet. She really didn't get me, not at all. She tried, but I was so unlike her, so unlike my siblings, that I'm sure she wondered sometimes if I was the product of alien abduction. I felt the same way. Even as a child I used to say I was from another planet.
The day my mother died was one of the most hideous days of my whole life ... that was BEFORE I found out she had died. Because of the timing, her death and that awful experience are linked forever in my mind/heart. It's no one's fault, it just happened that way. So you see when I think about my mother, as I often do (not just on Mother's Day) I experience so many conflicting thoughts and emotions.
It's all grist for the mill, eh? Oh yeah. Thanks, Elizabeth, for bringing me into the world. I hope you are flying high above the moon. Love to you, much much love. And much love to all you mothers out there. L'chaim!