Mother’s Day is always a strange time of year for me. I have not had the best relationship with mine, and I always feel a little weird when refer to my wife as a mother. It’s not that she isn’t, it’s just that it’s weird to think of her only as someone else’s mother. I don’t even think of her as just my wife. I mean, she is so much more than can be fit into just one single box. She is my wife, her children’s mother, sister to her siblings, daughter to her parents, and someone else who exists just for herself. I was drawn to her because she was one of the first women who I’d met that seemed complete within themselves, and yet still wanted something romantic with me. Normally, I’m drawn to damaged people, pulled in by the vacuum of their negativity, as they were drawn to mine. But with my Wildflower it was something else entirely. She saw the best in me, despite the fact I warned her otherwise, and took a leap of faith into love with me. One of these days, I should probably apologize to her for not running in the opposite direction, and sparing her the pain of dealing with me all of this time, but I’d like to wait until I am successful, as a thank-you mansion helps ease the pain more swiftly than pretty words.
With my own mother, things get a little bit more complicated. I’ve had countless people tell me that I just need to put the past behind me and move on, but I cannot help but wonder how my life might have diverged were it not for her interference. Throughout my final years as a teenager, and into my early twenties, I heard nothing but venom from her regarding my life choices. Interesting then, that had she chosen not to interfere with plans of compromise forged between myself and the school district, none of the events which she felt obligated to speak down to me about, would have ever come to pass. As a minor, I required her permission to attend Seattle Central as part of the Running Start program. Had she not revoked it at the final hour, I would never have met one of my “friends” that year. I would not have been there when she was kicked out of school. I would not have been there when she was kicked out of her home. I would not have stood firm in my promise to be there for my friends and given her a place to stay. When things finally fell apart between my mother and I, I would not have been able to call upon this friend to return the favor of sanctuary, and would, in turn, never have met her mother.
I wouldn’t have been staying at that house when my friend and her little brother went off to Eastern Washington to stay with their grandmother. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fall in love with… her. We wouldn’t have started dating, and I wouldn’t have been there when she fell back into a pattern of drug abuse. And if I hadn’t been there, who knows if my friends would have been there either. We wouldn’t have gotten caught up in all of that. The hardest substance which I’m likely to have tried would have remained some LSD. From there I cannot even think how much my life might have diverged from the one which I wound up living. Maybe I would have been writing sooner. Maybe I might have published something which reeked of youth and inexperience and the arrogance of knowing everything. Maybe I might have sunk to the bottom of a bottle and never come up for air again. But I wouldn’t have met Flor. And I wouldn’t have helped create the Minkey. And I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to get right what my father never could.
Are there things that I would change in my life right now if I could? I’d like to be living a little bit more comfortably. Other than that, I don’t know. Pull one string, and the whole damn thing unravels. What frustrates me is that I didn’t get to make that one decision. Everything I’ve built, everything I’ve done, has been built upon a foundation of reaction, of me trying desperately to shore up the what-might-have-beens and try to figure out how to go from there.
When I was nineteen, I wasn’t speaking to my mother. She’d shared her judgement of my girlfriend (nineteen years my senior) with me, and done nothing to hide her vitriolic disapproval from the woman with whom I was in love. So I severed ties between us. I told my mother that until she could get over herself, that I refused to be a part of her life any longer. That from the moment when she kicked me out (though, believe me, I was more than ready to have gone), she had renounce all claim to motherhood. If she wanted to still have me in her life, she’d have to ditch her failed attempts at mothering, and come to interact with me on an adult basis. It took her about a year to realize I wasn’t bluffing, and then she relented, and things were tolerable again. But I don’t think that she could ever see past the age difference, and when the woman and I finally parted ways (after a couple of trips to the hospital on part for nervous breakdowns), she could not conceal her joy. To this day, I still hear nothing but venom though her clenched teeth if that time in my life happens to be discussed.
But all of it, down to the tiniest little detail, could have been completely avoided were it not for her decision in early August of 1996. She’s told me that I’ll feel differently when David blames for screwing up his life. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll accept that I failed him, and try to minimize the damage. I’ve been through all of this before, hopefully I’ll still be able to recognize some of the landmarks along the way.
I cannot forgive. I cannot forget. I am the Center of All Bitterness. It is this rage which drives me forward, still attempting to prove all my critics wrong. Maybe I have my mother to thank for that. Actually, I know that I do. But I don’t think that I can do that today. Maybe next year. Maybe never.