My relationship with my Mama has been tentative and sometimes extremely volatile over the years.
When I was little I wanted a Mother that was like all the others appeared to be. I wanted love like everyone else seemed to get. I wanted understanding like I thought other kids got from their mothers.
I pretty much wanted my mother to be different than she was. Not all of her, just the bits I didn’t like.
As the years have gone on, and I had my own children, I still wanted her to be different. I still wanted her to understand me differently.
I also despised her for not protecting me.
Little did I realise then, and have only come to realise recently, that I am guilty of doing to my mother what I don’t like others doing to me.
Wanting me to be different than I am.
And you know what … when I stopped wanting her to be different than she was, I got to see her real beauty, not just tokenly appreciate the things she had done for me.
You see, my Mama is quite an amazing person when I stopped wanting something else … when I actually took a step back and looked at her properly.
Not only did she raise 2 children on her own in spite of the hurdles she had faced with both mine and my brothers fathers … she chased, exorcised, actively sought after and conquered her own demons whilst raising us.
I’ve learnt over the years, that theres a huge difference between parenting well and seeking out the ‘better’ … for yourself and your children … whilst you are nursing your own wounds. And we all carry wounds. No-one is immune to that. And that is what my Mama did. She strived for better, from herself and from us. From me. All her, what I perceived then as criticism, was her way of getting me to think about what I was doing and where I was going. She wanted better for me.
As for not protecting me … I’ve also come to realise that she did all she could and all she knew to do to protect me. She is not accountable for another persons filthy wretched being. She’s not accountable for another persons actions. They are.
I recently helped my Mama move from her little house to another. She’s just retired and her new place is about 15 minutes away from me. In another lifetime that would have been horrid. But now, I embrace it. In fact I absolutely love having her down the road and round the corner from us.
Over the last few days I’ve helped her unpack and de-clutter / re-organsie her living space. I’m good at that sort of shit. Really good. But what was even better was spending time with her.
As we went through all her things, we did this process I do so it’s easier for those that don’t want to let things go, let things go. We look at every item and do a practical count of things; if theres more than 2 things we have to look at what they’re all there for. Usually its got to do with memories. With each item, my Mama had a memory attached to it. I heard all her stories of all the things she held memories of. The things that were the most memorable, or that she absolutely loved, those things she kept and put on display instead of hiding them in a box. I think she enjoyed the process instead of it being painful. I used to criticise her for her clutter and disorganisation, because I didn’t like it and I wanted her to be different. But by the time we were finished, I got to see the beauty in all the things that she loves.
I love my Mama. I appreciate her deeply, now, for who she is.
She is amazingly intelligent; holds a degree; has completed some brilliant research; has gone back to study to pursue her love of art; she is a beautiful artist; a gritty activist; she’s a devoted and loyal woman with a deep deep passion for what is just and what is right; she abhors injustice and greed.
What more could anyone want in a role model and in a Mama?
Lastly, my Mama has always lived on the bones of her ass. I didn’t realise how much so until I lost my income and had to look at how I spent money; what I actually needed versus what I wanted; what was really important. Mama always fed us and clothed us; she always paid her bills and still had money left over to give to others. She sewed and bottled; baked and cooked; she saved and spent less. She was always careful about where every penny went. But I don’t recall her ever complaining about being broke … she just got on with it.
And while I have always heard people complain about the amount you receive when you retire and how little it is … because my dear dear Mama has learnt to live on virtually nothing all her adult life … retirement looks like manna from heaven. Most people would sniff at 30 or 40 dollars ‘extra’, but my Mama is living large … for her, she has hit the jackpot. Mama has never drank or smoked or eaten exotic foods or bought exotic clothing … she’s never gone on expensive overseas holidays or ordered overpriced gadgets to ease her ego; she’s never bought a brand new car or a brand new anything for that matter … she’s always lived minimally. And now … she can buy an extra block of cheese, and her favourite fruits, and some raw milk, and a steak … she can go for a coffee at the cafe if she chooses and buy an extra pot plant if she wants … she can even give the mokos a few dollars if she wants.
For all these reasons and a shitload more … I am forever grateful that my Mama is my Mama. That she is the perfect Mama for me. That I still have her here to enjoy. That she is close enough for my crusty anxiety ridden ass to get to every week. That I’ve figured out how important she is and can enjoy every moment with her, now.
Love you my Mama xoxo