A Week of Thoughts About My Mom

11/17/2011 09:02 am ET

Monday, April 9, 2007
I once wrote a poem about my mother. It was part of an assignment in which we were instructed to replace half of our original words with words from a given list. The poem didn't make sense, not in a literal way. But, the poem is like my relationship with my mother. It doesn't make sense to an outsider. Heck, it doesn't make sense to us insiders either. But, it doesn't have to make sense. It is what it is. Despite the word changes, the poem retains its original meaning. It took me awhile to get used to it, but I grew to find beauty in its alteration. Just as I find beauty in the ever changing relationship I have with my mother. Perhaps, imperfect, but lovely still in its inception.

Birthday poem-November 14, 1952
I was a daughter first
before even voice
with its race to tell what truths
may come in pain.
The song you sang to me
like the bleating
of a mother goat.
the tear that with your cheek
you wiped away
like the wince of fleece
(gentle, persistent)
if left long enough dissipates into nothing
if chilled becomes glass

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
My mother has had Multiple Sclerosis for more than half her life. She has had MS for all of my life. I'm ashamed to remember how I treated her when I was in high school, with a lack of compassion driven by selfishness. Wondering why she had to be tired all of the time, thinking she really wasn't as tired as she said she was, not knowing what MS really was, but not willing to find out either.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Is there a part of every mother that yearns for the day when their daughter grows up and has their own daughter? At which point they can enjoy watching you suffer (with love of course) as your daughter ignores you, insults you, doesn't listen to a word you say, and tells you she hates you. Okay, I never told my mother I hate her (accounts may differ here), but I know I have made her cry. So, I can't blame her for wishing, maybe just a little bit, for me go through what she went through, for me to finally understand what it's like.

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Now that I am older, my mother is more willing to be truthful about her everyday pain. And I am more willing to try and understand it. I understand the fear she has, the physical pain that she can't quite describe, and the frustration she must feel with her lack if mobility. Ok, maybe I don't understand. But, I try...

Friday, April 13, 2007
My mother has given me many things (besides life itself) including a love of food (making and eating!), the desire to save every stray animal that crosses my path, and the talent and thoughtfulness it takes to find the perfect gift for a loved one. She never told me what to wear, what to read, who to be.

Saturday, April 14, 2007
Why do mothers have to care so much? Why can't they just chill? Daughters have been asking that for ages. Mom, will you just chill? The answer is, of course, no. She will not chill. It is her job to be un-chill and she takes it very seriously. My mother has still not chilled out about things that have happened twenty-five years ago. And, I know I will do the same for my children.

Sunday, April 15, 2007
My relationship with my mother is ever-changing. Some days I feel like I don't know her at all. When I think about the things that help someone to know who I am, I realize that I don't know all of these things about her. You forget that your mother was a person before you and your siblings came along. You forget that she had dreams deferred, maybe forever and that she gave up some of those dreams for you.

Monday, April 16, 2007
At twenty-six, I have very little figured out, least of all my relationship with my mother. All I know is that I am her and she is me. Sure, it sounds very Beatles-I am-the-Walrus, but it's true. No matter what we do in life, we can't forget that relationship-even if we want to. We can't define it-even if we want to. On my good days I embrace it. She's the one person I can call when I find a good recipe, want to gush about how cute my dog is (her grand-pet), or need sympathy for my pain. She'll clean it up, kiss it, and put a band-aid on it, just like she has done my whole life, just like she will for her whole life.