May 09, 2005

I am a mother

Mother's day feels like whiplash to me.

I perseverate about whether or not to reach out to my mother, who I've been estranged from (read finally erected big tall boundaries between) for three years. The story is too long to tell, and much of it is hers to tell, and so I won't tell it. You see, it's one I can't believe myself, which is why it took me 40 years to tell it to myself.

For now, our relationship has to be this way. Did I say we lived 3 miles apart? Yes we do. It is quite simple. I love her so much. I ran for my life. I'm allowed to do that. She loves me so much. There is more in that. And so I run still. Or maybe I've stopped. I'm trying to figure that out.

I have always been very responsible for my mother's feelings, especially her happy ones, especially since such a focus enables me to completely ignore what I'm feeling or how I'm hurting myself. You do that shit long enough, you get on your own nerves.

So instead of doing what I could never imagine myself not doing, this mother's day I went to a park with Jenna, one of my friends and her two children. I watched geese skim the pond while the children climbed and slid on the playground.

We met an old tiny dog with a bandana as big as he was--one of those teeny tiny dogs that could easily be killed by a single sneaker mis-step, so you wonder, how has he lived so long? He was cool. Jenna almost stole him. She told me she wants a small dog. She will keep it in her Cinderella tent. "Little dogs make little messes, Mom."

And that's when it hits me, it's halfway through the day, I'm half present and half grappling with my own grief over unsolvable problems, when I realize, "Hey, I'm a mother too," a fact that had nearly escaped me in my reverie over The Situation. It's okay to enjoy the sun and it's okay to eat a half of an Ultimate sub with jalapenos, and it's okay to let this one be mine, and it's okay to be alone, away, without, with.

That night, when George got home from work, we met the other couple, with our kids in tow, at the Japanese Steak House for a really happy dinner.

I was interrupted by the heavy thud only every hour or so reminding me of all that I've lost, all that I never had. Remiding me that I can't do anything--nothing--to change the parts of "what is" that I'd most like to change. Reminding me that what makes no sense cannot be suddenly made sensible.

But I am a mother too. And it matters.