|summer 1949 - Mom and me|
My Mom was a special kind of crazy. When I say that to my grands, GK always says, "then it must run in the family". True. But her kind of crazy had no mirth or joy to it. She was a mystery, so beautiful, very hungry for so many things, fiercely independent, had an anger that scared the bejeezus outta me.
Growing up, I knew she loved me. Cared what happened to me and wanted everyone to know what a good mother she was. There were pockets of "ugly" that she never divulged or acknowledged about her upbringing or mine and it must have been so very hard for her to live happy. I found out more about my Mom after she died by cleaning out my fathers papers after he died than I ever knew when she was alive.
I have worked on my feelings about Mom for a lot of years. I thought I was a disappointment to her, found out she raved about me to any and all who would listen. I didn't know that. She thought I had talent and wanted everyone to see my work. I didn't know that. When I had Shelley, she fell in love with her and I felt like an outsider. Now that I am a grandmother, I understand what they had and why. But at the time, I didn't know that.
She hated me for being her caregiver during the last year of her life, but she also clung to me for everything. I know now it wasn't me she hated. She didn't want to die. And she was mad at the world and mean to me but I should not have taken it personally. But at the time, I did not know that.
I miss her. I love her. I wish we would have had a do over. I would have loved to really know her heart, help her see herself differently. I wish she would have seen Shelley grow into a wonderful mother. I wish she would have been able to know GK and Ry and share in the pride of what good kids they are. I wish she could have known me better, warts and all.
Happy Birthday Mom. In death you taught me so much more about myself and who I am. You gave me the chance to perceive you in a much different way....and appreciate the struggles that made you the person you were.
If I had a moment with you, I'd say "you did good by me". You gave me what I needed to be "a special kind of crazy" too, and know how to laugh and wish you would have been able to enjoy life more.
Everything we are is because of what we have gone through, good or bad. Consider everything as a lesson that you had to learn in order to be who you were intended to be. Gold is refined by fire, so are we. This is the lesson I learned most especially over the past 11 years. And now I know.