So I completely spaced the holiday when it came to thinking about my own mother. Ours was a difficult relationship and my childhood was rarely pleasant, but I still admire her as a woman who worked hard, tried to do her best and commanded respect. There were never any fuzzy moments when I felt truly loved and accepted, but I always had clothes to wear and a roof over my head. I could never go to her with the problems that really mattered or seek shelter in the strength of her arms when I was frightened or needed help, but she made sure there was food on the table even if I had to cook it myself and she sometimes typed my school reports. (I never felt the need to take a typing and that has been a hindrance my entire life, especially since I have spent so much of it writing as a way to cope with things I didn't understand.)
From her I learned how to survive, rely on myself and never risk more than I could stand to lose. While those may not seem like endearing characteristics they have suited me. I've been alone most of my life since I never learned how to really connect or trust others. My marriage lasted 22 years but there was never any intimacy, and I was constantly afraid of saying or doing something that would meet with disapproval. I tried to break the chain of abuse that had been a part of my life since I was five by walking away, but it was done too late and in the wrong way. I often feel like I hurt my children more than I helped them, but like my mother, I was just trying to do my best.
That said, writing about families and intimate relationships in the Indecision's Flame series has been very hard for me. I know all about abuse, illness, denial, conflict, abandonment, lack of warmth and threats, but I don't know much about how happy families interact. One of the few things I remember about my parent's interacting was the day my father became angry enough to rip the dress from my mother's shoulders because she kept insisting on wearing something that was worn out when she had better things in her closet. So much for the mind wanting to protect the sanity of an individual!
But I still believe in Mother's Day and honor all of the tremendous women I have known over the years who have overcome great odds, tried to serve others, and have given everything they have for the ones they love. No life is perfect, but it can always be improved on. I hope that my mother, who has been gone for almost 20 years now, will know that I love her and am really trying to understand how difficult her life must have been. I often see her refection when I look in the mirror. Whether we like it or not, we are part of the people who gave us life and will see them again someday. I'm hoping for a glorious reunion.
Happy Belated Mother's Day