I tend to grow pensive this time of year. I’m pretty sure the end of this month is my mother’s birthday. A tidbit I gleaned somewhere along the way. Probably the 30th.
As that time draws near, I begin to think of her. Sometimes I’m angry. Other times I just feel sorry for her.
I’d like to get good and mad at her for walking away from me. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her decision. I doubt she made decisions.
Because from what I gather, she’s always been more a child than a woman.
She and her mother were so much alike in their childishness. A type of childishness that is permanent.
Since it runs in the family, I think possibly a form of autism. Not high functioning. But at the other end of the spectrum.
Still, that does not heal what’s inside of me.
You’d think whatever ties mother and child have, that symbolic umbilical cord that never really gets severed, would cause them to fight like hell before walking away from their baby.
But having grown up around her mother, my grandmother, I know they merely acquiesce. They do what they’re told. I watched my grandmother do that all the time I lived with her.
Whatever my granny said, she automatically did. Without complaint. Kind of like a robot.
And it pains me to say I didn’t have much patience with her either.
You can be angry about what happened. But when someone isn’t mentally capable of consent, they can’t really own what happened.
Which makes it even more difficult sometimes, at this time of year, for me to feel forgiveness. I dawdle back and forth. I’m mad at my mother, and yet I’m not.
Whatever happened on that day when I was six weeks old, I know deep down they did me a favor. My childhood might have been a box of shadows, but it was otherwise fairly normal.
I was fed and clothed and had a roof over my head. Something I know my siblings, all five of them scattered about the earth, did not often have.
So it’s like being angry with a box. It’s just an empty vessel.
The box can’t help that it’s empty. That it was tossed to the side and left unfilled.
Two women who simply got the short end of the stick from birth onward. How can you place blame when you know this?
Two little girls who never really grew up. Maybe they were able to give birth. But being capable of loving the child that slips out of them is another thing altogether.
So anything I might feel is outlined with this knowledge. It buffers my anger because there’s nowhere, no one, culpable for what and how I feel.
I could stand and throw a dart, but there is no feasible target.
So whatever I feel is tempered and diluted. You can’t fine tune an instrument that makes no sound.
With no one to direct it toward, your hurt and anger rise up like a balloon.
The string is in my hand. Eventually I have to let go of the balloon. I can’t just stand there holding onto it.
And so you do. You let go and watch it rise higher and higher up into the air. Until it becomes a dot in the sky and is finally out of sight.
You know it is the only choice you ever really had to start with.
Inside that balloon were all the tumultuous feelings you’d bottled up inside.
And now the vessel you placed them in for safekeeping is way up there somewhere in the blue, blue sky.
It’s like a rough edged knife has sliced through your feelings . But like a limb someone loses but still inexplicably feels, for all intents and purposes no one can see or touch it.
Can you see something that isn’t there?
The birthdays, the days one remembers because they’re stuck in your brain, are really of no consequence. Just days without purpose.
Like an empty box waiting to be filled.
“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind.” – Charles Dickens