Sunday, March 05, 2006

Time Enough

I think it's inevitable that we all end up with at least something of our parents in us. For some of us perhaps that's better than others. Others of us - present company included - just plain got damn lucky.

My mom worries. This impresses upon me repeatedly as I get older... as I mature... primarily because as I was growing, I never saw it. Only a few times - important times - do I remember her evincing in my presence anything other than a love for life & everything around her. Anything other than treating minor practical inconveniences as just that. Anything other than enjoyment of all the things in the world that make it better for her. Of all the pressures & worries I now begin to understand what a parent faces, I look back & can see that she kept them locked inside, perhaps sharing them with close friends, but free from me. So those times it did leak out impressed me as being important events, important subjects... something to pay attention to.

Now that she's older.. and I'm older, it's easier for me to see those fears she locks inside. Perhaps she's not as good at hiding them. Perhaps she no longer feels the need to hide them. Perhaps she has matured to a place where it's becoming ok to share them with someone else when it was more important to be strong before. Perhaps I'm more observant. Perhaps I'm learning what those fears feel like myself and so finally understand what it is I'm seeing.

We share some very basic fears, my mother and I: growing old with no one there to love us in the end... (or in the middle, for that matter)... having people we love live their lives with no one there to love them.... no longer being able to fend for oneself & having to depend on people who do not care for you. I can't think of anything more basic & pervasive than those.

Mom had surgery yesterday. It was outpatient surgery, not a large statistical risk... but while we may write off such things as commonplace, still for the person who has to face it, such a thing can be daunting. Add to that the knowledge whispering in the back of the mind of a generation which began in days when "outpatient" surgery was limited to far less invasive surgeries than we tolerate today, and still not always successful. She told me a bit ago, in an offhand fashion, that this was coming. She was breezy & matter of fact, kept it short. I understand my job: I am the daughter who Can Handle It. I am the Gatherer of Facts. The Maker of Decisions. The Cool Head. I am the daughter who can grasp the intricacies between risk, reality, imagination, and fears both practical and solely emotional, offer comfort, encouragement, suport & practical advice where it's wanted & butt out where it's not. I am the one who Does Not Freak Out. I understand my job. So I coolly & in my unworried voice simply gathered information, offered my self if I could be of service anywhere, said I love you & then proceeded to come home & worry all on my own. Quietly to myself, without bothering the people I love. Just like my mother.

I got scolded last night for not having shared with someone(s) close to me that this was looming in my week. I had to explain two bits: First, if I'm having communicating / emotional troubles with someone I love, I tend to shut down all over in that respect. Ball up inside, lick wounds, wait for resolution. I hadn't intended to shut them out, I just have some issues elsewhere with someone else I care about right now that haven't resolved themselves yet & so the talking/sharing with others thing is sort of on hold. 's not personal... it's self-preservation. Dog licking wounds. Second, this Mom thing ties in all over the place: my Mom is part of the foundation of who I am. I feel her fears, they resonate through me & ping off of my own deeply rooted fears of loss & abandonment relating to death & dying, then amplifying & tying into those same fears of loss & abandonment in other areas. I can't imagine that all that bouncing around inside me has helped either situation much this week, but when I tried to step out of my internal cage & actually ask for help & reassurance from the source that could actually help I've gotten only distance.

Cryptic (apparently)... and off topic a bit. Sorry. Anyway, yesterday morning as I logged in to my computer to begin my day, I had a short email waiting for me from my mom. Breezy & quick, offhandedly mentioning that 'today was the day', and 'just wanted to tell you I love you.'

THAT is my mom. All those emotions bouncing around inside her, fears I know are there of never coming back. Thousands of thoughts about things she never did, might never do, might never do again, things she's never said & might not get a chance to say. Fear that tomorrow might not come. Arguing with herself all the while about being silly & don't worry anyone else. She distills it all down to the bare essence, the most important bit... one more friendly happy good morning, one more "I just wanted to tell you I love you." I hear it all in that little sentence - all the fear, all the planning, all the knowing, all the love, all the suck it up & face life strong. One last.. or one more: either way, I can't think of a better thought to start (and end!) the day with someone you care about. Just in case. I can't think of a better example of how to live. Or a better mom to learn it from.

So all you out there that I love... you know I love you. None of you are stupid! But just in case I haven't said it loudly enough, or often enough, or in words or actions that you understand... just in case we're mad at each other, or confused, or frightened, or disgusted... just in case I've been too busy to pay attention when I should have, or in case you've been too preoccupied with the rest of your world to hear me: Hello. Whether tomorrow comes or doesn't, I just wanted to tell you I love you. There really isn't anything more important than that. Everything else is just gravy.


Post a Comment

<< Home