It’s Mother’s Day, why can’t we just freaking enjoy it?
I demanded to know through clenched teeth.
Oh, if ever there was a moment that I embodied my mother, that was it, cocked eyebrow, flared nostrils and all. Too bad I was directing the statement at her instead of someone else.
Mexican Mother’s day is May 10th. This year it falls on the same weekend as the American Mother’s Day. So for both days this weekend, we should be celebrating my mom but no, God forbid we have a holiday without some type of small fiasco.
7am on a Saturday and she’s picked a fight with me. She’s pissed I’m not awake for our weekly Saturday morning together.
“But my alarm hasn’t gone off” I moan through a closed door!
I normally get up at 7:30, and we leave by 8, that’s the routine. But apparently I missed the memo today. At 7:35 she announces she’s leaving in 5 mins and proceeds to leave without me.
Shit. I must have overslept the alarm. I glance over… it’s not even 8!!! Why is she leaving so early? I get up and stew over a cup of coffee.
“How could she leave me?”
“It wasn’t even time to go, why did she need to go early and why was I not informed?”
Hurt gives way to anger.
“Fine! Forget it! I didn’t want to go with you anyways!”
But that’s not true. I did want to go.
When she returns home, she’s still pissed and so am I. I tried to talk to her but chilly and distant, it is conveyed that somehow this is my fault. I tried to explain to her that she left earlier than our normal routine but she’s not having it. She’s making it a case for how she can’t wait all day for me and I’m still confused as to when the time slot changed without notice but was magically supposed to know that.
Pissed off, I respond a tone equally chilly to hers: “Fine. Forget it. I give up.” and walk off.
In the background I can hear her retort: “Fine. Don’t bother.”
Did I mention we’re just alike?
We both sulk away to our separate areas, doors locked, and fuming silently. I hear her running the vaccumn while I start to reorganize my desk for the millionth time. Did I mention we both ferociously clean when faced with angry situations?
Confused and hurt: “This is not my fault” I think. I choose to throw myself into a morning of emails and work to capitalize on the new found spurt of aggressive energy. But, while checking Facebook updates, a post shared by colleague Brooklyn Middleton catches my eye with the following quote:
She calls us not motherless but unmothered. It feels right—an ontological word rather than a descriptive one. I had a mother, and now I don’t. This is not a characteristic one can affix, like being paperless, or odorless. The emphasis should be on absence.
Damn it! Now I’m crying. I have a mother. A fantastic one. One I won’t have forever and I don’t want to waste Mother’s Day’s like this when they should be fond memories.
“Hey mom … wanna have lunch?” I ask. A peace offering.
No. She’s still pissed off.
Sigh. Clarity washes over me. Now I get it. She’s mad at something else. Something else has happened and I’m getting the shit end of this stick.
You see… we don’t just look alike and share mannerisms and facial expressions, we share personality traits. That stubbornness that is so fierce it can stop anything in it’s tracks? Yeah… I have that.
Those quick one liners that will cut you hotter and faster than a blade ever could, I inherited those too. They both cut you down and make you feel like you’ve failed at life. I’ve been known to deliver a few of those myself.
That unwillingness to admit that this deflected anger is an fear avoidance reaction to something we aren’t willing to face, I try hard to not do that anymore. This is the one area where we differ. I can sit in my darkness, comfortably thanks to some hard life experiences and a great therapist. I know that tendency to deflect is still there but I can self check/ get back on track when I feel myself creating fear based experiences.
What she needs from me this Mother’s Day, is for her to be right. I can do that. She needs me to hold a loving space for her that doesn’t back down when challenged by her having a bad morning. She needs me to be unconditionally loving and forgiving the way she is with us kids.
What she needs, is for me to cut her a little slack. What I need, is to know that this isn’t directed at me, its something else, and I need to show her that its ok whether she wants to talk about it or not.