I have been thinking about my notion of love>>> To know and be known (see my October 4 post). When I use this definition to measure my relationship with my Mother, I fall way short. I fail miserably.
Mother has always been very private. She raised us to be private. She never shared personal information, but I suppose most mothers do not. Compounding Mother’s reserve is her hearing impairment. She lost her hearing when I was in my early 20s. Communicating with her is quite difficult and I quickly learned that in-depth, intimate conversations were work for both of us. So we maintain our polite distances. Small talk is easier.
That is selfish of me. I should have asked her more about her despair of losing my Dad and losing her hearing. When we talked about her deafness, I took the tact of talking to her about the courage and strength she showed each day, but I did not want to go to the dark side of her emotions. I guess I thought it would be too painful for her. It would have been too painful for me too.
You see, we like to think of our mothers as unchanging, one-dimensional figures. It’s safer and more comfortable. To think of our mothers as young women in love with thoughts and feelings is too foreign. To think of our mothers as unfulfilled, middle-aged women is too frightening. To think of our mothers as old women facing decline is too painful.
It should not be surprising that my children find it so with me. And, you see, I understand this….because I have walked the walk with my Mother….