I finally have a couple of days to reflect and I have been sitting on my patio enjoying a cool December afternoon. It is a good time for reflecting on a few things and that is more or less what I have been doing.
It is three years since my mother passed away and I think I am finally ready to write about her. She would have really liked the weather today, but there was always something unsettled about the nature of our relationship; like a distant cloud on a summer’s day.
In truth, she was a very good mother – highly involved, protective, and engaged. The problem was that I was a free spirit and a decided risk taker from her vantage point.
Apparently I first demonstrated this at the age of two. Having dressed me in my best party dress with frilly socks and patented leather shoes in preparation to meet the minister’s wife, she was horrified to find me coming down the stairs to greet the honored guest wearing nothing but my socks.
Where she wanted a child to sit in her lap, I wanted to run and swing and explore and investigate, and squirmed about in an effort to escape.
Where she always chose the safest path, I would forge head long into the middle of the raspberry patch in search of the biggest ripest berries, emerging triumphant but scratched and disheveled, much to her dismay.
As a teenager I shunned her traditional ways begging for blue jeans and makeup and striped socks with toes. She did her best to be modern and accommodating and did away with most of the strict parenting that had been bestowed upon her and for a time we were quite close. But then I did the unthinkable – I moved away to a tropical island and our relationship was never the same again.
My memories of her now are bittersweet – I tried over and over to tell her about my travels and my experiences but frankly most of the projects that I took on just scared her to death. She expressed worry and concern over my career choices and the cost of everything, and I am sure that my seemingly reckless disregard for job security frustrated her no end.
I am sorry to say that I eventually lost patience with her cautious ways and we drifted further and further apart. Although we still spoke on the phone, I lived thousands of miles away from her and did not see her during the last two years of her life.
They say that time heals all wounds and sometimes in some very surprising ways. I can now think of my childhood with fondness and I am thrilled to report that I now have a close bond with my 80+ father that I never expected to develop at this point in my life.
So when all is said and done, if I could, I would thank my mother for sticking to her ways and tell her that I would not change a thing about our relationship because she gave me the determination to be free and caused me to find a way to believe in myself until I truly was.