Saturday, May 7, 2011
My mother refuses--refuses--to take down the embarrassingly cheesy rhyming couplet poem I wrote and framed for her when I was twelve. She keeps my old, not-very-good artwork in her bedside table. Decades later, she still has not forgiven the girl who bullied me in junior high, the teacher who told me I'd never succeed or the boy who dumped me on my eighteenth birthday.
She informs me on a very regular basis that I am the most beautiful, brilliant, kind-hearted, talented young woman ever to exist. She raves about everything I write, even pieces I don't consider to be very good. Her book club is surely tired of hearing about my every accomplishment.
She loves me even when I am a mess. When I have royally screwed up, be it professionally, romantically, financially or even morally. She talks me down and empowers me to formulate a solution. Nothing, she tells me, cannot be talked through. Though I hate to admit it, she is always right about this.
Of course, she drives me crazy sometimes, and I her. Occasionally, I snap at her to knock off the psycho-babble and stop it with clinical diagnoses. It drives her crazy when I am short with her, and then apologize without meaning it. I am a terrible liar in general, and lying to her is impossible. She sees right through me and calls me out. This is especially annoying when I'm lying not to her but to myself. "Who are you kidding, Gab?" she beseeches me. "You don't mean that--stop bullshitting yourself." This results in the bizarre cocktail of feeling enraged and grateful at the same time. Sometimes it inspires me to hang up the phone without saying goodbye.
But we always reconnect and then figure it out together, and usually even manage to find humor in the situation. Our relationship has taught me the value of surrounding myself with people who are invested enough to always work it out. She has shown me that a big part of love--perhaps even bigger than the inherent sentiment--is the willingness to stay connected, even when it's difficult. She taught me that I must stand my ground and express my individual thoughts and desires, while still holding the other person in my heart and carefully considering their feelings.
Unconditional love does more than just feel good. It's a value, instilling in its recipients that even when there are lapses in harmony, the deeper ties of love stay intact. It is, without a doubt, the greatest gift my mother has given me.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I love you.
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What a great post! It shows tremendous insight about mom, and about your relationship with her.
Gabi: What a gift you are to your Mom and she to you.
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