Thursday, August 26, 2010
Nobody ever loves you like your mum
So I wish I was a writer, and so therefore, I must write this blog for real.
I begin again, in earnest, as I did almost three years ago. I love to write. It soothes my soul. It makes me feel alive. I write this for myself, but I love to hear what you have to say.
And so, we begin. From this day forth this blog will be real, and current, and true.
Last night I was tossing around the memory of my mother coming to see me. It's a heartbreaking memory, one I may have written about before. My mother is one of the most level, calm people I know. She's always been incredibly supportive of me, she's been a loyal and amazing friend and companion for my entire life. She is rational, thoughtful, funny, and talkative. But on the list isn't the description of someone effusive with outpourings of love and affection. My mother always showed she loved me through her actions, through her doting care of me, through her attention and true devotion. But we didn't tell each other we loved each other, and she didn't ever fawn over me, stroking my hair and telling me I was pretty. Ours was always a deep and fruitful relationship, but on an emotional level we didn't delve into the details of our own love for each other. It was obvious, but unspoken.
I remember my mother coming into the room as I held Charlotte. Did you know that nobody else ever held Charlotte? In my haze, confusion, trance, I never thought to offer. And they didn't dare ask me to give her over. I was so entranced by the thought that my family was seeing me with my daughter in my arms it did not once occur to me that she belonged to them, too, as a niece, a granddaughter. And so I held her, and it was like a viewing, with them leaning over my half-naked body covered with little Charlotte, admiring her little fingers and beautiful features, and us all feeling sad and proud and amazed and thunderstruck by the awful misfortune we had fallen upon. When my mum came in it was just like this, she came to my left and sat on the edge of the bed, and she leaned over us and hugged me and Charlotte, too, and she just cried and cried. But remember, she's not emotionally effusive, normally, so this in itself would have almost surprised me if I had thought at the time to register the surprise. But her words were what were registering to me, she was saying to me over and over, It's just not fair, it's not fair. You were my baby and you've made me so happy, and she's your baby and it's just not fair that you don't get to keep her. It was the three tiers, she was me and I was Charlotte, only I was alive and Charlotte was not, and so I couldn't be her and Charlotte couldn't be me, and none of this was fair. It was true. And it's also true that the moment Charlotte came out of me and I saw her little face and felt the amazing surge of love I wondered about this: could my mother really love me this much?
The truth is, of course, that she does. She did, and she does, but even if you tended towards emotional outpourings, how would you explain this love to a person? She told me, later, in an intimate moment after I arrived home, how odd it is to be the parent of an adult child, still feeling that intense, deeply attached love, but knowing you must let your child go and be herself out in the world.
But at that moment, my mother clung to me, knowing it was not fair, knowing she could not save me, or Charlotte, and wanting nothing more than for us both to be okay.