08 May 2005

Mother's Day

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking a lot about my mom lately. But I haven't been thinking about her as my mother -- for some reason I've been imagining her as a young girl, before all the kids came along.

I've been thinking of my mom not as a mom, but as a daughter. As a woman who grew up loving her mother, desperately wanting her approval, and alternately loving and hating her father, anxious to be out of their house, to be married to the man she loved.

Before I left New York, I was digging through some old family photos and I came across one of my mom not long after she'd had her first child. She was so young. Or, at least, seemed so young. I imagine at that point she was only 21 or so.

Looking at her kissing that baby -- who was probably my brother Bill -- just kinda breaks my heart. I wonder if she knew the stuff that was in store for her, if she'd have been strong enough to go on. Had she had any idea that her little baby would die way too young, that there'd be family strife and scandal and anger and pain associated with his death, how would she have gone on. I can only imagine that I would fold under that kind of strain, and run away.

Which, I guess, is why I admire her so. Although, to be frank, I don't know that she wouldn't have run away if she'd been able to see the future -- but knowing her as I do, I doubt she would have.

It's true that they just plain don't make them like this anymore. My parents were raised to persevere, not to run away. Don't get me wrong: I think unhappy people should get divorced and do their best to find happiness, but my generation takes that idea a bit far sometimes, I think. We're a bunch of people who -- if you'll permit me the gross generalization -- don't try all that hard. We give up too easily, wherein personal relationships are concerned. I certainly gave up too easily with Gavan.

So it's times like these that I wonder what my mom thinks about the sacrifices she made. Did she, I wonder, dream of being a doctor? Did she dream of writing the Great American Novel?

I wonder what she thinks of her life. And I wonder whether she knows how aware I am of the gifts she's given me. How grateful I am. How much I love her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

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