Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Mother I Miss

I keep thinking of my mother. She is my superego on steroids. She’s vicious, and tears into me often for bad decisions. I realize the dream I keep having where she’s mad I’ve changed things is about my own fear of the change I am going through.

Sometimes, now, I hear her voice and it’s clarity. I knew I had worked myself into an impossible situation the other day. I wanted to talk to her about it. I needed her help. Even if she was going to yell at me for getting where I was? She would then give me the best advice.

I trusted her.

I don’t know why. Given the chance, she cut me down every time. She had more than an agenda with me- I didn’t do much of what she wanted me to do, act the way she wanted me to act. I was a terrible reflection. No make-up, nylons or nice accessories. I looked like a man, crossed my legs like a man, and I was the one who could really make a difference. I was the one who cared about social issues the way she did.

I was, at best, frustrating to her.

I want to sit down and talk about best approaches with her. I need to hear her stories of early mistakes she made and how she corrected them. How she moved forward.

I miss her.

She would yell at me but then she’d tell me to trust my instincts. When it comes to this kind of work, she’d say, you could only do so much checking. And always, no matter what, be gracious. If she had been Japanese, she would have, even at six foot tall, always bowed lower than the other person. Whether or not she believed they deserved it was not the point.

The mother I want back is the one who came, wearing her fur coat, to Boston for Christmas. Walking in the door, she promptly took it off and handed it to Ben, then five, and Zachary just two and a half, to play with. It did not matter that their hands were sticky or that they were going to the small table set up with art supplies. She went with them and sat on one of the small chairs herself and started to play. She did not tell me my house was a mess even though it was. She did not yell at me for the casually set dinner table. When it was naptime for the boys, she pulled up a purple and green toy chest and put her feet up, pulled the fur coat over her and took a nap, too.

That’s the mother I miss. That’s who I want back. Her alcoholism made that impossible to ever return to again. I know. By the end, her body was a broken shell covering a sea of bitterness. It hurt to be near her.

The fur coat had been passed on years before and hung unused in my closet.

A year ago, I was sitting, or not, trying to find a way to wait. She was unresponsive but still breathing. Waiting, I believed, for my sister to arrive and say goodbye.


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