Thursday, May 10, 2012


I guess I finally let her go the day she married my step-father. I didn’t do so willingly or gracefully. At some barley conscious level I surmised there wouldn’t be room for two men in her life so I tenuously released the grip and left her to her new life. I was already an adult with a man of my own. Yet she had been my best friend, my sustainer, my comrade. We had forged on together through a jungle of crises and catastrophes and came out the other side bruised but not broken. Hand in hand, enmeshed yet not enshrouded, it was time to be the adult son and let my mom be an independent woman and wife. And so I internally detached and claimed my autonomy from this woman who had maintained such complete command over me. I wanted her to finally have the life she had so long wanted. To see her rely on a man who didn’t require her constant attention, dependence, and care. To be freed from the constant rigors of both mothering and fathering three children while also maintaining a job to support us all. I had long known that marriage and motherhood had been her own mother’s decision for her. She had wanted higher education and a single independence. My grandmother saw a good match in my father, though, and so down the aisle she halted. Settling for a new dream she then wanted a husband and home in the old traditional sense. She wanted a boy and then a girl, security and stability with this man she grew to love. What she got was a boy and then a boy, an adopted and troubled girl when nature couldn’t give her the daughter she so wanted, and then a husband with a terminal diagnosis that would send him into a home and her into the workforce. If there was to be stability it leaned upon and into her to provide it. If there was to be security it fell to her to build its walls. I wanted more for her. I wanted more for us all, but especially for her. I tried so hard to make up for the lost dreams and shattered goals. I cooked and cleaned and became a friend and welcoming ear. I garnered good grades and played the role of the good kid with gusto. I knew it wasn’t enough but it was what I could do for her. I wanted to see one glimmer in her eyes that was a testimony to her wants finally being fulfilled. I caught a glance of that at her second and “non-arranged” marriage. And so I walked away and prayed that this time it would be different. That this time it would be better. Softer. Easier. Fulfilling.
In some ways I guess it has been. And yet the circumstances have continued to push, challenge, and stress this now golden-age lady, and the body is mirroring the years of abuse, resistance and wear. The pain is constant, and the demands still relentless. Having capably mothered her grandchild she now watches as her eldest falls prey to a disease not unlike that which claimed his father. There are days where it seems like more than she can bear. I want more for her. I want to take away the pain and shoulder the burdens that so torment her now. I want for her a life that she truly wants. I want to know that though I was an interruption of sorts in her plan my life has brought her some joy amidst so many years of sorrow. I want for her the peace that comes from wanting the life she already has. All of it. Every last messy, infuriating, exasperating bit of it. The age-old problems and the problems of old age. The disappointment and the pain. The remembrances, the regrets, the turmoil, the tragedy, and the triumphs. The interrupted plans and the unexpected jolts. I want her to see how much she overcame and how much she was able to give against incredible and overwhelming odds. I want her to know that though I detached I certainly never left. That though I rebelled, I never really rejected. I want her to know that I still want her as my mom. That as vastly different as we now are in so many ways I will always be a son who wants her as my mother. Just as she is. That her life is my life and it is a life I embrace and want and love. I want her to know that I know, see, and feel the perfection of having her as my mom, even in her imperfections. I want her to know that I know she did her best.
What do I really want for you, Mom? I want peace for you. I want you to relax into a deep and heartful peace. I want you to know deeply how loved you really are. I want you to know you are wanted. You are a part of everything I be and everything I do and share. And I thank you. I want to thank you for letting me know beyond all the circumstances and seemingly contrary evidence that I too was wanted.