Not Everyone Had a "Mother" to Celebrate
I had a mother once, but not a real mother. She gave birth to me, but almost anyone can do that. I know deep, deep down, under and inside and probably wrapped up inside of something else and hidden in a corner of her, there was love for me.
I believe in childbirth we give up the body of the child, but left behind is this powerful seed. Some people tend to it and embrace it as a gift. Not everyone does. Not everyone has a mom who paid attention to that burning in their chests and aching in their stomachs and inability to get your mind to rest at night. Not every new mother understands that this tiny baby is theirs and you are going to give up anything you have to just to keep it safe and to let it know it is loved. Perhaps they are too young. Perhaps they are so distracted with their own problems, they wrap it up to silence it and hide it deep inside.
I know it is planted in my flesh because from the moment I laid eyes on my children, it hurt. Something is in you that wasn't in you before. It burns as it germinates and tickles as it spreads roots throughout your being and every cell in your body knows your entire purpose has changed. You don't sleep because you worry about your child. You are to protect this person you made and brought into the world. You are responsible for them and you have to teach responsibility to them. You already love them and you have to teach them to love. That is... unless you were my mother.
I was already mad at my mom before I had my own children. It isn't fair because she is dead. She died when I was 19, unexpectedly, but I always expected it. When a mom dies at the end of a girl's teenage years, you don't get to "make up" and be best friends. You don't get to shop for wedding dresses and have lunch together when you are in your twenties and thirties. You don't get to laugh about the hard times you gave your parents and tell them you're sorry you were such a rotten teenager, because you are a parent of teenagers yourself now... and you see the error of your ways.
Those things would have never happened anyway. She had forgotten she had that seed wrapped up and tucked away inside of her.
I loved her with all of me the way little girls love. The way little girls love with an open heart but with an extra helping of, "Please don't kill yourself tonight mom. Please stop saying goodbye I promise I will be good. Dad does love you." It was our normal. On the really bad nights, dad would take us to the drive-in movie for a double feature. We brought pillows and blankets and slept in the quiet.
As an older girl, I loved her by keeping her out of jail. I hid the knives in the wood burner when my dad went to work. Sometimes he would forget and call me from the office and tell me just to wrap them up in a towel and he will get them out when he gets home. We weren't worried about her hurting herself anymore. She wanted to hurt us. I loved her with a protective heart while trying to keep myself and my little sister safe.
The teenage daughter was tired. Tired of trying to keep it all a secret, trying to pretend we had a normal family at school. Tired from sitting up all night while my dad was gone. I started sleeping up against the inside of my bedroom door after I woke up and found her pushing lit cigarettes into my mattress. She stood behind a door to pour hair dye on me on my high school graduation day. I was wearing a short white summer dress and I had black dye all over me. There are some things you cannot tell people until years later, because when they ask, "why?" you cannot answer. I don't know why.
I was leaving for college and I was never coming back.
Then she died.