If you can call your mother, do so.
(From Real Simple magazine this month)
On the eve of Mother’s Day, I must always reflect on my own mother. I do this to clear my sadness and to prepare myself for my own day … one where my children become the focus.
It is February 2nd. February isn’t the best month for me. If you have followed me for a while, you know that today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. In addition, the second most influential woman in my life, my mother’s mother, died on February 10th.
These two women have left an indelible mark on my life, although my life path hasn’t exactly followed theirs.
As a child in Tennessee, I had my grandmother just a short walk from my house. When I was lonely or had argued with my mother, I had only to make the short walk … where my grandmother would offer me my grandfather’s leftovers of country ham and biscuits. She would listen to me and let me sit with her at the kitchen table, or she would ask me to help her snap beans.
My son could use a grandparent next door. He is adjusting to yet another transition in schools. He has entered middle school, only two years after our big move to Wisconsin. He is a sweet boy, but he longs for acceptance. I know that longing. It was that longing that made me choose this life path unlike my mother’s … to live away from my hometown and family. Moving away meant that my children would go to school in a more racially diverse community, but it also meant that we would sacrifice the proximity of family.
This week, after a nice spell of having my husband home in a holiday holdover, he resumed his travels for work. It has struck both the boy and me very hard. Our family is fractured, and we’re both lonely. We miss family and the comfort we had in Virginia with friends we had spent ten years knowing … they were our family there.
We are building friendships in Wisconsin, but it will take another ten years to have what we once had. Perhaps someday we will be able to impulsively invite our friends over for dinner like we did in our Virginia days. Or we could drop in and have leftovers at a friend’s house.
As a mother, I want to see my son build lasting friendships. But lately, his desire for friends is wound up tightly with the dynamics of middle school, and he is having a hard time untangling his feelings. I listen, but I also do not want to risk alienating him from me. It’s a fine line. We are our family here. I cannot risk that loss.
However my mother did what a mother is supposed to do, she risked that loss. She watched as her child move away, and I know that it broke her heart to be so far from me and my sister.
In the loneliness of February 2001 with the excitement of the holidays behind her, she quietly slipped away. February is indeed a hard month …
It was a rough day in the world of motherhood.
My husband was yet again out of town and had been for a while. The girl woke with an earache. The boy was dealing with a middle school transition. The house decided that it needed more repairs and updates. I felt over extended.
As with many families in this country, we are far away from any support system. I rely on a few friends, but I could really use family. At the end my of frustrations, I decided to veg out, watch a little TV. “Ah,” I thought, “Glee.” This clip is from a recent episode where Rachel sees her birth mother again. The birth mother is trying to make things right for Rachel and for her newly adopted child. Let’s just say, it was not what I was expecting.
More and more media are incorporating the adoptive mother and father. The recent Kung Fu Panda movie also highlighted adoption with the main character not knowing his roots. His crane father shows emotions my mother had.
I remember an instance that I wish I could take back. I was a preteen and angry. I wrote my mother a letter that said, “I wish you had never adopted me.” The hurt she felt cannot be erased. That was surely a rough day in motherhood, one I cannot fully understand.
Today, I was wishing for my mother, not the one who gave birth to me, but my real one.