Thursday, May 15

Mother's Day Reflections

I know it was a few days ago that we celebrated Mother's Day (at least here in the U.S.--I'm honestly completely unsure if it's an international holiday or one that Hallmark has only been able to convince Americans to buy into). 

At any rate, it's a strange holiday for me. As some of you know, I wasn't raised by my mother, but rather by my (maternal) grandmother. Although my mother was a part of my life for the first 25 or so years of it (and even on and off for another few years after that), we grew successively further apart as the years wore on. That made the task of buying her a Mother's Day card harder and harder which each passing year--mostly owing to the fact that with age comes wisdom. 

Or at least awareness.

The sad part (for me) is that I've come to realize as an adult that if she was just a *slightly* better person, we might have become friends in time. We share a lot of the same interests and she introduced me to some of my favorite childhood television shows (Space 1999, In Search Of...). We watched together and I know we watched a number of he same programs and enjoyed the same sorts of books (overall). I'm not quite sure what she'd think me writing gay romance, but I know she was quite the romance reader in her youth. The fact that she was a pretty rotten mother is something I would have gotten over if she'd been a better human being. (I'm using past tense because I haven't spoken to her in almost sixteen years--it's not an accident. We didn't drift. We had a fight in which I finally spoke my mind--or at least the very tip of its iceberg--and she hasn't spoken to me since. I've been quite happy to return the favor). 

But I still sometimes catch myself wondering if she's watched this or that movie, or if she's enjoying this or that television show as I sit down to watch it myself. No, I don't miss her; I miss the relationship that could have been if she wasn't an emotionally and psychologically abusive alcoholic. There may be some mitigating circumstances (I suspect she suffered a closed head injury well before my birth, as the result of a motorcycle accident--she wasn't wearing a helmet. Family antidotes make it seem as if, while she was always on the selfish side, after that her personality grew more...difficult.) 

The person I do miss is my grandmother. We also shared some of the same interests (although I shudder to think what she'd really think of my writing. She was very much a product of her era and culture, though in her way, she tried to be open-minded. I suspect that given time to digest the changes in the world, she would be--perhaps a big begrudgingly--tolerant of the idea of marriage equality. I also suspect my writing is one of those things we would politely not speak of because it would be too close to home for her--she could tolerate other people being gay or bi, but when it came to me, she preferred to pretend it wasn't happening. Though she would be proud of me for writing, she would, I'm sure, prefer that the neighbors--and Heaven forbid her friends from church!--never know. I could live with that. There were a number of subjects that fell under that category between us. It kept the peace and I never, ever doubted how much she loved me.)

As I find myself starting to decorate a new house, I'm sad that I've lost or broken so many of the things that belonged to her and I keep hoping a few of them turn up in boxes that are still packed from my move out of her house. It's silly, but I *wish* I'd packed up her old kitchen clock when I moved because I would love nothing more than to put it in my new kitchen. I wish I had more photos of her, but I was never one to hang onto things like that (ironically, she was the one who instilled a dislike of "dust collectors").  I do have the picture of her mother that always hung in the hallway; it'll go in the upstairs hallway of the new house, on the wall I've designated for family photos, because I want to do a better job of capturing important moments and putting happiness up on the walls of my new house.

It's the home I want to grow old in, the way she grew old in the house I grew up in--a house I've regretted leaving for almost 10 years. My new house is older and bigger and more work, but it has character and I want to fill it with the memories. 

And I know my grandmother would hate that it's in Detroit--but that's okay. It's just one of the many things we'd agree to disagree on.  :)  


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