Becoming Your Mother
It’s a weird feeling. You’re away from you mother for a while, and then in some mundane moment you feel her presence in a room only containing you. Weird, you think. My mother. You dismiss it. A week passes, a month, a couple of days, and you feel it again. Putting away a cereal box, saying something to a group of friends, watching a little kid hop off the curb to cross the street — why does my mind paint a watery picture of my mother’s face, her hands, her hair? Maybe you dismiss it again, or maybe this time you say to yourself, “It can’t be. Surely what I think is happening isn’t happening.”
But it is. You’re becoming your mother.
Putting away that cereal box you get a tingle of satisfaction in popping one cardboard flap into the lip of the other. You smile silently to yourself, euphoric at the symmetry. Your friends are all gathered, laughing drinking and you think about how wonderful this moment is. As if to embrace every soul in the room, you stretch out your arms and exclaim above the noise, how happy you are to have all your people together. You mean it. You see a little boy, in his oversize coat, hop off a curb wobbly, but happy. You want to grab his hand and make sure he gets safely onto the other side. You restrain yourself, not because he’s someone else child, but because you know this is his journey.
It is not a mindless regurgitation of the Motherly things she once said which makes this moment unique. It is the mysterious manifestation, in you, of the feelings she was feeling when she said nothing at all. It’s as if intuitively you’ve tuned into the frequency she has always been on. A frequency you didn’t know you had never been on — until in distance you feel the frequencies align and suddenly you are at Home in yourself.
An inverse relationship of observation and intuition totally separate from the didactic checklist of Motherly Do’s and Don’ts drafted in regards to the expectations of the world you were set to enter. She said the right words, sharing, caring, teeth brushing, hand washing. Those are the words the World is going to say to you anyways. The words that are going to be balanced against her scales as “mother”. Does this child share? Does this child have clean hands? The checklist meaningful and meaningless all to the same degree; imploding in on itself with a heavy weightlessness.
It is not that the minutia of the daily “mothering” was ever unimportant, it’s just that these things are not the things from her, that you’ve begun to see seeping into the trenches of whatever it is that makes you, You.
Her mothering was in a subconscious cultivation of the bits of your being which sustain you. The bits you will identify with, and the bits you will try to overcome — the bits that will eventually resonate as mysteriously and uniquely you.