One of the things I struggle with is writing about, in general, mothers. In specific, my mother. I don't know why this is because I really have no trouble on any other topic saying what I want to say. Mothers, for some reason, are in a different category for me.
My mother is a fairly important reason for me being here and I've known her for most of my life since she gave birth to me. The early years were a little rough as we were trying hard to train each other, and neither one of us had any experience in it so there were some mistakes made but we both survived.
Then, during the Wonder Years, there was so much going on with me learning new things by the hour and she trying to contain me while my sister was still a baby that we barely had time for each other. Just as I was starting to figure her out she and dad went and had our brother and that set us back for a few years while she doted on him. That was fine with me because I had grandparents and multiple uncles and an aunt upstairs that gave me more attention than one should get at 5-6 years old.
Once she hit her stride as a mother things started moving at warp speed. There were rules, many of which made no sense, many of them were ignored by me, and a few likely kept me alive. She was a task master and disciplinarian and looking back, she seemed to enjoy that more than you would think she would. Or maybe it just seemed that way to a kid.
My teenage years were her prime years so we were at our peak strengths at the same time. This, as you can imagine, was not good for two people that had the same personality and mental toughness. Picture two bulls in a field fighting for leader of the pack position and you get an idea of what life was like for both of us then. Being the mom she won more than she lost so that was tough to take but a valuable life lesson. Being the top dog is better than being in second place.
When dad was around he was like Switzerland, neutral and a peace keeper, but he always was on mom's side of any scrape with us kids. His idea of punishment was making us sit on the couch with him while he cuddled and kissed us and kept us safe from hurting ourselves more with mom.
Once I went away to college my relationship with mom started to get repaired. I wasn't around all the time to push her buttons and vice-versa so we established a respectful peace accord. I wouldn't torture her and she wouldn't torture me, baby steps. Of course we still had our moments of disagreement but I was ultimately able to walk away because I had moved out of the house by then.
Fast forward to today and we have settled into a routine. I'm down here to help her when she needs help, or to run errands for her, or mostly to put gas in her car and change her air filter in the house three times a month it seems like. We have the occasional argument but we get over it quickly. We are both frustrated with advancing age and all the disadvantages it brings with it so we cut each other some slack on things.
Hindsight allows me to realize that as hard as it was to be a kid it was just as hard for her to be a mom. Sure she helped raise five brothers and a sister but does that really train you for being a mom to your own kids? I think not so much. The bottom line here is that she managed to keep all three of us alive until we were adults and could take care of ourselves, that was her primary responsibility and so you can say a job well done for that.
Anyway, back to my original thought on this. My relationship with my mother is complicated, volatile, loving, frustrating, and about thirty other things, just like it is with every other mother and child in the world. At the end of the day it doesn't change the fact that without her I'm not here to begin with, and likely not here if she wasn't watching over me to make sure I limited the stupid things I did.
Happy Mother's Day Mom. Thanks for keeping me alive.