January 9, 2010

Motherly Love

By the last day of the Christmas vacation, I was on fire with worry...you name it, I was worried about it. I obsessed about Max's shyness, about his refusal to poop on the toilet and only in a pull-up, about my eating habits over the holidays, about my job, about my bank balance, about my husband, about my marriage, about my general sense of insecurity and anxiety. And by Sunday night, I cried myself to sleep missing my mother so much it hurt to the very core of my being.

I wanted her to tell me all was alright and to tell me some story to make me feel better, like the time she went to the doctor because she was so tired all the time (she had 4 kids under the age of 7) and he put her on amphetamines. She said she actually made curtains during that time before crashing. I wanted her to remind me of the time she was so tired (and tired of us, I presume) that she let my oldest sister, who at the time was probably 16, drive us to Wendy's in the middle of a hurricane because we wanted Frostys.

What I remember and appreciate most about my mother is not that she fed us well (we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted, pretty much whenever we wanted) or that she disciplined us (I don't ever remember her scolding me with any seriousness,) but that she actually seemed to like us...me. She liked me and she loved me like only a good mother can. She didn't care so much what we grew up to be (although, she was obsessed with us each having health insurance and she, I think, was happiest once we were all married off) but instead she just wanted to talk to us about good books and friends and our kids.

And when she was on her death bed and one of us asked her if she had any regrets, she said she wished she had been nicer. Frankly, I am not sure that would have been possible. It was those thoughts that carried me through my tears and into a fitful night's sleep next to my son, who, if nothing else, I hope knows he was loved more than I thought humanly possible. And when he is on that therapist's couch 20 years from now, I hope his biggest complaint is that I smothered him with love. I don't know how to do it any differently.


Anonymous said...

can't type for the tears in my eyes. You described my fantasy mom whom I keep inviting into my life only to have my real mom show up. the good news is that day by day if I keep spiriturally fit, my first inclination is to go to the grocery store for bread instead of Home Depot. my mom and i have a much better time that way.

Oh, and Ginna didn't poop exclusively on the potty until she was 4. Her teacher at St. Geo's on Camp told me that no kid goes off to college not knowing how to use the toilet. :)


Emily said...

I know I'm not Mom and I can never be her, but -
You are a wonderful person. You are a great mother. You love Max as only you can. You were meant for him just as mom was meant for you.

Therese Close said...

I can certainly relate to missing my Mom so much I can't breathe sometimes- especially when I get tired and overwhelmed. It still seems absolutely insane that I can't pick up the phone and talk to her about what's going on with me. And loving that son so much it hurts? I'm totally there. Love your stories, Claire - keep writing! Love, Therese

Fish Out of Water said...

Emily, you are an excellent Mom substitute...I would be lost without you and your love.

Beth said...

Love, love, love...that's what I remember most about your mom and I wasn't even her daughter. I can't even imagine how much you must miss her. I think about her so much and hope that my children can feel the love from me like I felt from her and from Memere.