Friday, May 23, 2008

My Mother, My Child

Dear Mom,

Where to begin?

I know the last several years have been incredibly difficult for you. They have been for all of us -- but for you especially. And I also know that I can be judgmental, pushy, and aggressive in my opinions -- especially when it comes to you. You: The warrior in my life. You: The omnipresent.

I look at you as you are right now, today, and I see a strong, beautiful, and scared woman. And for the first time, I see you nervously unfolding the wings of trust and hope -- wings that maybe opened once or twice before in your life, only to be snapped shut in fear or confusion. I look at you and I don't see a victim; I look at you and see all your strengths and faults, all your weaknesses and wisdom.

It wasn't always like this, I know.

It has never been easy for you, I also know.

If I were to tell someone of your childhood, it would sound like some far-fetched screenplay from a soap opera on Telemundo. For you to come through what you did, to come so far, is quite literally a miracle.

Mom: You are my miracle.

I've heard you say before that I saved your life; in many ways, I believe you. But you also saved mine, and it wasn't when I was born. It has been every day since. You have prepared me, taught me, trained me for this world.

Sometimes I think I'm a bit overprepared. The two competing sides of myself -- my little pragmatist and my little spontaneous bomb -- in many ways, are also you. You, who were so badly hurt. You, who somehow figured out a way to keep going. You, who taught me to leap, even if it is scary.

And now, over the last two years, I have watched you. Watched you handle a crumbling world and slowly pick up the pieces. And here you are: In love for probably the first time in your life. I have never seen you so happy. Or so scared.

The balance in our relationship has shifted completely: I now watch you go out on dates, tremulous and anxious, and I hope for you to have a full heart, enjoy yourself, and come home safely. I now get the phone calls: You on the other end, wondering what he meant by this word, me: helping you decode a hidden meaning, or advising you to take him at his word.

It is a different world for me, Mom. It has been a difficult adjustment for me, and I know I haven't always been fair to you. I have been critical. I have been demanding. And for a while, I didn't know why.

But now I understand.

Mom, I'm scared to lose you. I'm scared that this person will take you away -- you, the one warrior I have always had. You, the only constant in my world. I am no longer your focus in life, and that is so fucking scary. Yes, it is selfish. Yes, I am an adult, and I don't technically need you to care for me.

But I do, Mom. I need you.

I'm so torn between wanting you to be happy and enjoy the hell out of your new romance, and wanting you to be involved in my life. I'm confident that it will even out, eventually, but right now it is off kilter, and I'm spinning wonky.

I'm also so extremely proud of you. After all you have been through, you still manage to allow your heart to reach out, to still risk being hurt for the chance of being loved. And I admire that more than you can know. So I want this for you. I want it for you so much. I want to watch you walk for the first time, as though you are now my child. I want to be there for you when you fall so I can brush the dirt from your knees. I want to be there to send you off to your first day of school. I want to hold your hand when you cry, and I want to laugh with you when you are happy. But this is the hardest part: the letting go.

Mom, I love you. And I am letting you go.

Leap!

4 comments:

Girl With Curious Hair said...

Boo, it is not nice to make people get emotional over their morning coffee--no matter how beautiful your feelings.

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The Bagboy said...

Great story Boo. I like that you treated the reversal of the parent/child relationship in a loving way, and not a depressing one like most movies and literature.

Alex the Odd said...

Absolutely lovely, Lady Boo. You didn't make me mist up, honestly. There's just something in my eye.

In all seriousness, it sounds like your relationship with your mom is a lot like mine and my mother's, hurrah for standing up and saying that the kid being the adult in the relationship sometimes doesn't always have to be such a bad thing.