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your junk, my junk, let's throw it all out pegasus

Posted by Racer on February 16, 2004, at 12:07:23

In reply to Re: Thank you for the validation Racer, posted by pegasus on February 16, 2004, at 1:27:43

Hey, don't worry about putting your "junk" into it. I do that all the time -- and then feel guilty about it! That's throwing my junk into the mix, so for heaven's sake feel free to throw in some of your own. Hell, we get enough junk, maybe we can open a junkyard?

While all relationships are complex, I really do think that Mother-Daughter is the most complex. I'm middle aged, my mother is almost retirement age. We still do all the steps in the Mother Daughter Dance. I know she loves me, and I can point to dozens of things in my childhood that made her The World's Best Mother Ever, things she brushes aside as failures. And things that she still beats herself up over, things that we can't go back and change, make her miserable to this day, which makes her sometimes even harder to deal with. Right now, she's going through a conciliatory stage. Trying to make up to me for what she did and continues to do. It's almost more distressing than the worst of times.

(While talking to my aunt a few months ago, she mentioned that my mother was really touched and impressed by a gift I'd given her. I was sceptical, saying that Mom had never expressed any interest in, let alone compliment for, anything I'd ever made for her. My aunt's comment: "Sure she does, she's always impressed and always talks about how talented you are." Great, I'm the only one she's never said anything like that to. So, Auntie must have told Mom about the conversation. At Christmas, I gave her a sweater vest I'd made for her from scratch. Dyed the wool, spun it, designed it, and knitted it. Mom's response, as she tried it on right away: "Is this OK? Do you like it? Are you happy with it?" She asked me! She still hasn't said that she likes it. She probably never will. And it breaks my heart that she can't see that I want her to like it. That whether she likes it or not is what matters, not whether I like it or not. Does that make any sense?)

Here's another Mom story for you. When I was a kid, Mom used to try to wear me out as often as possible, as moms will do with young children. One of her favorite methods was taking me out to get peanut butter. How could this exhaust a child? First, we took a bus from home to the big bus depot. Then we took another bus from San Francisco to Oakland. Then we took a local Oakland bus to the neighborhood where the store was. Then, we walked several blocks to the store. At the store, we filled a bag with peanuts, then took it to the guy who ran the peanut butter machine, who ground it into peanut butter, right before our eyes. Pay for it, and reverse the trip. Think about that, from a child's perspective. That, my friends, is a true adventure. Going to exotic places, and watching a wondrous machine transform peanuts into magical peanut butter.

And we'd go to Golden Gate Park. Mom would ride on the swings with me, and she could always swing much higher than I could, and she could swing as long as I could. Swinging on swings is the best thing I know to this day, and somewhere in my psyche is a painful and almost overwhelming desire to share that magic and freedom with my mother again.

She'd take me to the DeYoung Museum in the Park. We'd go through all the rooms, and Mom always let me linger in places that most interested me. And she told me about the art we saw, including lying down on the floor to demonstrate the difference perspective made in certain great religious paintings, like those of El Greco. And when I told her the sign on one of the paintings was incorrect, she took me seriously enough to point it out to the museum. (Who else would listen to a six or seven year old like that?) Every time we went there, usually a couple of times a month, we'd take a break at the same place, sit down by a great Dore urn. The urn is covered with cherubim, and insects, and all sorts of figures. It's about 6 or 7 feet tall, and one of my favorite pieces of art. Every time we sat there, I'd wander around it, looking at every figure. Every time we sat there, my mother would look at the cherubim, pulling at insects antenae, and say, "{chuckle} those bad children..." We went together to the museum a few years ago, and came across the same urn. Mother's response to it? Chuckled and said, "Oh, those bad children..."

Yes, I love her, she was magical, she will always be captivating and magical and enchanting to me. And the great tragedy of it all is that she'll never know how deeply I mean that and how much I love her. Yes, she caused me great harm. Yes, some of her actions and some of the things she said caused permanent scars. And? My scars now, no more responsibility for them on her part. Now, I can just plain love her and admire her and respect her. Those scars are now mine, my responsibility, my choice about whether or not to have them treated. And I still love her.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll write some of that to my mother. Maybe I just will do that. I'm afraid it will shatter her, though, to hear that I don't blame her -- I'm afraid that the brittle skeleton of her psyche at this point is held up only be the blame she places on herself for my scars. Guess I know what my next session is going to start with, eh?


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