It's Mother's Day. My 2nd one. And I am sitting in a tangle of reality and imagination.
I love being a mom -- even though it's literally the hardest job I've ever had. And yes, I consider it a job--despite the blessings it offers. Mom's have deadlines and expectations, and simply cannot fail... though I do, every day. But the rewards outweigh those of a paycheck. The sparkle in Mo Chuisle's eyes when she says "love you" or the stubborn little line between her brows when she insists "no mama"... I fall in love every day.
And then there comes the fear. Because I do not have a good relationship with my own mother. She "left" when I was 12, though she was always around. She had five kids and raised three. The other two were mine, basically. And even now, as an adult, she has the uncanny ability to heap random guilt on me that makes me behave in ways contrary to my instincts and desires.
I've been selectively honest with her my whole life. I choose the easy path of agreement while I bite my tongue on the truth. Because telling her that I don't agree would open up a weight of revalations that would severely upset the false balance I've crafted that keeps things basically pleasant between us.
I smile to her on the phone and then hang up and cry. I look at my daughter and vow I will keep channels open because I can't bear to think of this weight I carry sitting inside of her little body.
But here's the thing. I had an Uncle -- my mother's sister's husband -- visit the other day and he looked at my parent's wedding picture and commented about how he'd known Mom and Dad before they were married. He said that my mom was the prettiest girl in the neighborhood -- that she was smart and funny and bright. That she practically shimmered with life. He wondered aloud what had happened to her, not realizing that his words were daggers into my heart.
He was describing a stranger. A stranger that had apparently given birth to me. A stranger that was lost sometime after kid number 3. A stranger that became Mom. It was a heartbreaking realization of what life can turn us into. How our choices shape our personalities. How we can start out as someone and end up as someone else.
I look at my baby and not only wonder who she will be, but who I will be to her. I want to cry when I think of the future, only because of what I can see in my past. I want to be her touchstone, but am afriad that scars left on my heart from disinterest and being taken for granted will affect how she connects to me.
I suppose I just have to never forget so that she will always remember. Not remember words like "I never worry about you" but words like "you are my heart and I trust you." Poor thing -- she's destined to be an only child not only because of biology and her mom's screwed up body, but because her mom is too afraid of spreading her love too thin.
I'm probably screwing her up with just that... sigh. Oh, well. I guess anything is still possible... right?