Sorry for the lack of posting. Being the mother of this blog has had its challenges with the main one being finding time to write and post. I’m trying for 2-3 times a week and we’ll just have to see how that goes.
I’m sitting here and thinking about Mother’s Day. I hope yours was lovely. Mine was, mostly. It was also the spawn’s birthday. Yes, his actual birthday – kindof sucks for him. I remember he was born the Friday before Mother’s Day, a beautiful round-headed baby, which of course is how giving birth by Caesarian looks. My kid was no cone head! I had so wanted a baby for so long, it’s hard to remember how truly young I was – 26. The year before I had had a miscarriage, so with this pregnancy both my ex-husband and myself were understandably nervous about the baby. I don’t think I exhaled until the end of my first trimester.
Also during the pregnancy my marriage was basically falling apart. No one’s fault exactly, just two people who were too young and got together out of tremendous unmet needs leftover from childhood, I guess. At least this was pretty true for me – I don’t know what my ex would say about it.
Yet even with these stressors, the baby was fine – all ten toes and fingers and a beautiful round head. Even if the next years were going to be difficult, I had my boy. And oh how he loved me! And needed me. And I was just so overwhemed – sometimes I would cry with the weight of it. I hardly had it badly – I was educated, I had a job, I had a caring and involved father, but still it wasn’t enough – I wasn’t enough as a mother. I think I hesitated to embrace the work of being a mother for a very long time. I was there, but I wasn’t and I’m sure my son felt this. How could he not?
Fast foward to today. Precisely today. I finally have come to terms with the fact that my son has chronic depression and is often in despair over his life. I think I’ve cycled between denial and acceptance of this since he was a teenager. He’d have a bad time and then something would happen and he’d seem better, so I could go back to the idea that he just needed to get a better job, or date more, or have more friends. But that really isn’t it. No job, girlfriend or buddy can completely help someone who has chronic depression.
Today he asked me if I could, logically and rationally, give him a reason to live. Logically and rationally? I wanted to scream at him – “What, are you crazy? [begs the question, I know] – you can’t check out! Because. . . ” and here I stop. That’s neither logical nor rational. So before I screamed I went with the biological drive idea which certainly can go a way, at least on a species-wide argument, but like most depressed people, he doesn’t have much, if any, drive these days. Then I seized on the following, saying “Look, your depression is skewing your thought processes. . . ” which began to sound all clinical and mechanical . . . and I stopped again.
Here I am, 50 and completely imperfect, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And I can’t do anything to transmit this to my boy – who is now a man. And I can’t save him long enough for time to heal some of his wounds. In fact, I can’t save him at all. That’s the truth.
*Sigh* And that’s why it’s not easy to be a mother – or a father, for that matter. My in-laws lost their second son years ago (the ‘Publican’s younger brother) and there’s no way to recover from that wound. They do live and laugh and sometimes my mother-in-law drinks too much (around the anniversary of her son’s death). And the point is – there wasn’t anything they could do to stop their adult son from living the life he lived – and they couldn’t stop the accident that took his life.
Folks, we’re all so powerless against the gods of war, of accidents, of natural disasters, of physical or mental illness.
So today, and for all these reasons, I celebrate mothers for having the courage to bear and raise their children, giving them what they can, and then letting go even if their mothering wasn’t perfect.
Today was a mixed day – some good but some, decidedly, not so good for this mother. And it wasn’t such a good day for her son, either. Tomorrow – who knows? I try never to part without telling him I love him and giving him a hug. Today, however, he snuck out without the hug or the words. They aren’t a talisman of protection, I know, but I wish. . . just for a moment . . . that we’d had that connection. I needed to know he was real, tangible, solid. Because the feelings and moods are so ephemeral and . . . I wanted somehow to try and make it all better.
Oh, if only it were that easy, eh?