Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I am not my mother (sometimes)

I take a risk when I write about my children... when I write about anyone who's still alive, actually, but friends are easier to placate when you say something that pushes their buttons.

My mother once yelled at me (when my kids were still small) "I hope your children give you as much grief as you've given me!" I can't remember what it was that fueled that particular incident, but she never got her wish. My kids are good guys.

I'm not even implying that they are perfect or that I agree with everything they do and say. My younger son keeps having children... his fourth child was just born last month. I'm concerned about global overpopulation and dwindling resources for his children's children. I'm also worried he'll have a heart attack from all the overtime he works to give them everything they think they need. Does that mean I love him less? Hell, no.

My older son is agnostic. He gets no comfort from believing in a loving and merciful God. He sees his life as all there is. Does that mean I love him less? Hell, no.

I was an only child. My mother had certain expectations about holidays and special events, and I was alone in providing her with what she deserved. Some holidays I hit the jackpot, others I was a sorry failure. But I resented the dutiful way I kept trying to please her. I resented the duty itself. Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day, her Birthday, an endless stream of occasions to be remembered.

My kids often neglect me on those occasions. I sometimes get a Mother's Day card (or gift) from at least one of them, but it's usually late. It makes me laugh. I laugh because they are not stuck with the duty gene that plagued me, and I am especially delighted when something arrives (on time) some years from both of them.

The truth is, I'd rather they forget it's Mother's Day than resent that it's Mother's Day and resent me for having guilted them into doing something. My mother would be aghast... or maybe not.


kpjara said...

Amen Sister...but don't tell my mom, k?

Pat said...

I very much like your transition from expectations to freedom for your children. I've done the same. I tell them the calendar does not tell me what to do and when. However, my mother lives with me, so that adds an interesting dynamic.
me, the baloney in the middle of the sandwich…