It took me becoming a parent to understand what the love of a mother is, what it can be, and what it takes to rear a child.
All that being said….
I don’t always like Bonnie.
I love her more than I love myself most days.
My childhood had its ups and downs. Whose childhood doesn’t? What my childhood also had was Bonnie.
These days I can no longer talk to her. Her speech is impaired from the stroke. Her thoughts are impaired due to circumstance. Her feelings are always in turmoil, and I suppose in a way I understand that.
As a little girl – a very little girl – Bonnie was always less valuable to me than Lewis. When Lewis was gone, Catherine, my grandmother took the number one spot.
There was never a time that Bonnie was my best friend, my most trusted confidant, and the one I could always turn to the way I’ve seen other mother and daughter combinations.
I wanted that from her, but getting it? That was never in the cards for me.
In the beginning it was work. In the end it was too much time. In the middle there was a disconnect between the two of us that no amount of love can bridge. Not today nor tomorrow.
As I got older I began to learn about Bonnie’s past. Just a little, but enough to figure out somethings that didn’t make sense to a 10 year old girl. Like all of us she was shaped by her life experiences, yet I’ve never been able to overcome my own sense of loss.
Not having a mother who loved me unconditionally turned me in many ways. It inhibited and warped my own sense of relationships and connections.
It helped me to make some shitty life and love choices.
It mostly shaped my parenting skills. Now one might question those skills, I really do most days, but a happy Clyde tells a different tale.
Most days he is happy. Most days he smiles. Most days he is his beautiful self who proves that what I do works. Most days.
I tell him that I love him every day. I tell him that multiple times a day. Those words were scarce in my childhood. Their proof even less so. It became important to me to make sure that my child understood what I did not, that a mother’s love flows like the blood through my veins.
As a child my mom was always worried about money. There was never enough for her, even though there would have been enough if she was less concerned about keeping up with the Jones’. She was much more worried about keeping up appearances than she was providing comfort.
With my child I worry about money for different reasons. There is not enough money for any month, even if I toss out all that “extra” stuff. I would like to do more for my baby. I’d like to shower him with material goods but all I can shower him with is love when I have to save up money to buy him new school pants.
As I matured I faced the battle most mothers and daughters face, two women existing in the same space.
I won’t have that issue with my boy. I have different issues.
As I celebrate motherhood today I also mourn my own mother.
It seems a little selfish when there are so many without a mother who would like to have theirs back.
The truth is though, that my relationship with Bonnie warrants what we both feel. Love without necessarily liking each other.
I know its love. I’ve been doing this since 2007 and will keep doing it until there is no other option.
Yes there are some selfish reasons tossed in there as well, but what I do can’t be done only for selfish reasons.
The chaos that can be our daily existence is solidified by love. Period.
I still just wish that there was a way for me to like her and her to like me. I don’t know that the moment will ever come where that happens but I still wish.
As far as Clyde? I like him a lot. If you knew him you’d understand. He’s 1000% likable. On most days he likes me to, after all I am the person who brings the food, when I can put it on the table.
I wonder if he likes me. I know that he loves me. I wonder if he likes me.
A mother’s love should not hinge on if your kid likes you. That is another lesson I learned. The more time went on and Bonnie did things to try to make me hate her she considered that successful and lovable. She was wrong.
Parents are wrong at times though, we fuck up.
Can one progress past that fuck up though?
There are times when I can and times that I cannot.
A mother’s love still remains though.