Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Lover of Women – Sue Miller



 Thinking about this blog over the past several weeks and the entries I have completed and those I have yet to write, I realized that I haven’t devoted much time to writing about my mother.  Perhaps I am such that I needn't write about her because there really is nothing to write about and I tend to focus on very emotional subjects and she has not stirred the emotions in me that other subjects I have written about have done.

 Which is not to say that this is a bad thing and I don’t think anything more should be read into it.

 Perhaps there hasn’t been a story that has triggered me to think of her during my writing – until now. 
Funny how that works…isn’t it?

And so, this story comes along, and within it I find the perfect set of stairs to climb into a discussion with myself about my mother.

I really enjoyed this story and it’s one that will hang around with me for some time.  It wasn’t the relationship that the brothers shared or the relationship(s) that the brothers had with the family of sisters, but the relationship that the sons had with their mother.  These sections caused me to think of my mother and the mother son relationship I am seeing M and the boy develop.  A relationship so deep and intense, filled with such love and caring on a level that I will never have with my son -no matter how hard I try.
 
And I am fine with that. 

As a new parent, I think a lot about raising the boy and how much effort it requires to do a really good job at it.  I also think that it is getting easier and will get easier but also I realize that there will be new challenges that arise at each new developmental stage, presenting a whole host of new challenges for M and I and hopefully, over the years we’ll develop the ability to adapt to these changes quickly and deal with them without major disruptions.
  
I am completely clueless as to how my mother raised my sister and me.  As a child, I wasn’t aware of the “raising” that she was doing, or how her actions…or inactions would play out in the years to follow.  I wonder if she realized what would or wouldn’t happen with everything she said or did.  Did she give it that intense of a thought or was she flying by the seat of her pants?  Will I look that deeply into what I say and do as the years go by? 

Does my mother look back on the years she spent raising us and have any regrets?

I can’t imagine that she could have expended so much – and I should say too that I can’t imagine me being able to expend the efforts and energy.

 But I want that to happen!

I know that there was a period of time where all she wanted was for me to open up to her.  I simply couldn’t do what she wanted because I was a moody-self-absorbed teen and young adult.  She wrote me letters pleading with me to share more of my life with her, she asked me repeatedly on our phone conversations (from college or when I lived away from home) to offer her glimpses into my life…and I simply wouldn’t.   As I moved into adulthood, I opened up…slightly, and it took several years of fully being an adult before I could open up – and speak to her as an adult should.

I now know how difficult this must have been for her.  She gave me everything she ever had – tried her hardest and I shut down on her.  She was concerned for my well-being as she said multiple times during those conversations and that concern just didn’t faze me.
 
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t given her in return what she deserves over the years but it’s too late at this point and I can only move forward on our current course (which is a good one) and let our lives play out.

My mother is now a grandmother and she has assumed that role with much success.  She spends too much money on the boy and at times I am concerned that she needs to pull back a little.  She is in a tough space in life being the caregiver for my step-father and she really doesn’t see us or her grandson enough.

I wish her life wasn’t so hard.  She deserves so much more.  These past five years have been incredibly difficult for her and her mental and physical states are suffering.  There is hope that as time passes, that her world will change for the better, after a period of severe sadness that I am sure will come after the passing of her husband.

She will be alone, and it will be the duty, I feel for the children to provide the comfort of a parent, to the parent, as she provided comfort to us during our periods of loss. 

I can only hope that we do a good job – she deserves it.