Mother, Daughter, Circumstances

I saw my mom today and she is old.

I cried as I looked at her.
I missed the years it took for her to become this stranger.
All those years of cohabitation and we managed to only attain a civl acquaintanceship.
Suddenly, I was paralyzed by my lack of knowledge of her.
What had she wanted when she was my age?
What does she expect of me?
What is she most afraid of?
Did she ever smoke?
What is the thing she wants to do most in this world?
If I wasn’t her flesh and blood, would she even like me?
Who were her crushes?
While I may never know the answer to these questions, there are things I do know.
There are things I learned while I was busy not asking questions.
Things I heard while she didn't speak.

My mom was always a mother to someone; I didn’t always feel that someone was me.
It seemed she worried more what others thought of my actions versus what my actions said of me.
For twenty years she’s said “if only I were younger, I would” do this or do that.
For twenty years it has been the same “this” and the same “that.”
I wish I knew how to encourage her then or even what to say to her now.
I wish we were truly friends.
I wish we could talk about our lives in a meaningful way; a way that would effect change or provide inspiration.
I wish she had seen more of the world.
I wish she had put it in my head that I could do anything.
I wish she looked at me as someone who could provide her with more than grand children.

My mom speaks to me about things that interest her,
Four pound squashes, budding flowers and her latest gardening and farming achievements.
She speaks of her friends, their problems and reminisces about events I have long forgotten or may never have known.
For a while she spoke at me about grandkids and a husband.
My response always yielded from her “well, maybe you will change your mind.”
It is never “why,” or “okay.”
I think she wants to see a part of herself in me.
Seeing me with a family may help her feel a deeper connection to me.
To her, my willingness to do something she did, may speak to my love and admiration of her and her choices.
Maybe she too worries I don’t appreciate her sacrifices.
Maybe she’s fearful I don't love her.

She may now realize how little she knows.
She knows what she observed while we lived together.
Now that observation deck is years removed and miles away.
I have become as much a stranger to her as she is to me.
Its only a motherly connection that keeps her close to me, not a friendship.
The love she feels may be centered on lavender scented talcum powder.
I may be in the pride she feels in knowing I graduated college.

Through my mom and her choices I saw what I didn’t want.
I didn't want three kids and a husband.
I didn't want domesticity.
I wanted the opportunity to go places and do things.
I wanted a kind of freedom to which kids and a spouse seemed a hinderance.
I wanted knowledge, a kind of Socratic existence.

Even though I knew what I didn't want, I am yet to get what I thought I wanted.
What I know for sure is that there is a stranger in my life.
A person with whom bonding has been difficult.
I’m unsure of where we will end up but I know with certainty that in twenty or thirty years, there won’t be someone out there writing these things about me.

Posted on December 10, 2013 .