I'm not always a good son. Sometimes, I get caught up in my life and my wife and kids and forget to cherish the times I get to have with her. When we call, she always answers. She treats her grandchildren like they are her children. She leaves absolutely nothing on the table and she never has. She has always worn her heart on her sleeve.
I'm not really all that good at being serious when it comes to how I feel in person. I love to probe and listen to people's stories. I love to share everything, just not so much in person. I do better in writing. In writing I can say what I feel without my emotions or insecurities getting in the way. It's part of the reason I keep this blog. I want the world to know me, but I want to do it silently. In the middle of the night where people like me live.
So this one is for my mom, who I neglect.
I used to lay behind her legs as a kid. I was scared to sleep alone. I hated being alone...always! My mom would sleep on the couch to give me and my brother our own rooms. After our TV shows would go off, she would send us to bed. Jason would go quietly, without argument. I would beg for more time. I never have liked the idea of sleep...of being so vulnerable. After a while I would shout from my room. "Mom! There's something outside my window! It sucks in here!" After a few rounds of this, she would tell me to come out to the living room. I'd lay behind her legs...something my son does with me on our couch and it reminds me of her every time.
After a while, when I had fallen asleep, she would try to put me to bed. I would never go. I would get up and go to the heater on the other side of the room and lay down and wait for the furnace to bang around and blow comfort into the room, sweeping past my face. I'd fall asleep soundly. I think I was scared of just about everything and I always felt lonely without her around. I was a mama's boy that didn't have the option of being a daddy's boy. It didn't matter, because she gave me everything I needed.
My mom knew things about me that I didn't think she knew. Sometimes, she would see the sadness in me in the morning and instantly change the narrative. She would keep me home from school because she saw something off about me. A practice I still keep with my kids. She would let me have fun instead; or sometimes, just let me lay behind her legs and not be so lonely.
Once, when I entered high school. I was going through a very difficult time being me. I didn't much like anything about me. I was having trouble with being a man that had never been taught how. I had gotten the confidence to ask a girl out. This was big for me because I always lost my nerve and lost the girl. I asked and she accepted. I was so excited and felt so strong. A few weeks later, she dumped me. I found myself wrecked. Not in some dramatic teenager way; but because I was tired of being rejected by people. I was laying on my bed, pretending to sleep when she came in. She put her hand on me and prayed for me. I don't care what other people think of prayer. What this meant to me was that she was trusting in God to repair me. She knew I was broken...because she was my mom.
Nothing was ever easy for my mom raising us. We didn't have any money. We didn't have the most popular things. We had to move a lot and leave our friends. It hurt because a kid doesn't see anything beyond themselves, but I see it now...as an adult that is trying to make a life for my kids and wife. My mom, like me suffered from depression. It was hard on all of us, just like my wife and kids suffer with me when the lights go out. I didn't understand it then. I definitely understand it now.
We always had the very best Christmases. She somehow always got us what we wanted. Me and Jason would wake up at 5:30 AM and wait for her to stir. Once we heard a cough or a sniff, we would run out to the living room that was always decorated in tinsel and lights and wake her screaming. She would wake, make me drink some orange juice, because I was hypoglycemic, then smile as we opened our gifts. I never took my mom's gifts for granted. They meant a lot to me and I'm guessing took a lot from her to get.
We would go through some tough times. I was a nightmare teenager. I was angry and sad and blamed everything on her. I was mad at her because a coward couldn't stay and find a way to be a dad. That's what teenagers do. Teenage boys blame their moms for their absent fathers. I found myself in my darkest place. The most awful place I had been in. She knew it. It may not have been the right avenue to take, but she tried to intervene again. It wasn't successful, but it is a part of me now; remembering that she cared when I thought no one else did.
I write this today because my mom is going through a surgery. It's routine, but when I think about it I find my hands shaking. It makes me nervous to think that I may not have mentioned enough how very strong you are. Mom, I cannot envision another person going through what you had to go through...sacrificing what you had to sacrifice...while giving all of yourself to your kids. No one but you could do what you did. Thank you mom.
Thanks for reading...Z