Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom, Dog Poop and a Mermaid...

My mother and I are walking down a cracked sidewalk in the East Village of New York City. I am moving for the sixth time in probably eight years and my Mom, who just turned sixty, insisted on driving in from Connecticut to help me move. We walk together toward the apartment, fall leaves are scattered on the sidewalk, the air is crisp. Suddenly I see a huge dog poop in the center of the sidewalk, as if a Great Dane had just been there. It is curled up and pointy on top. I see it and my mind goes "UGH".
My mother sees it, stops dead in her tracks and says in a gentle exclaim "Ohhh! Nature's sculpture!"
For real.She is not kidding. I explode with laughter and joy.
My Mom is amazing. She sees the good in everyone, in everything. EVERYTHING.
We continue on, she sees and marvels at a squirrel eating a nut.
I marvel at how she marvels.

Later, I am reminded of this moment, of this quality she has, when she interacts with people who I would normally judge as bottom of the barrel characters...she finds the good in them and they are soon chuckling together.

When I graduate from fashion design school I prove my teacher wrong by wearing a full length, skin tight, brilliant blue rubber dress. I put a slit up the back so I can walk...see you can wear rubber! Some turd of a guy said "You look like a prostitute".
My Mom took one look at me and exclaimed "Ohhh! You look like a mermaid!"
I love her endlessly.

When I held my first newborn, I said " Mom, isn't he amazing? Aren't babies amazing???!!!"
She looks me in the eyes and says " We all still are." and I got for the first time in my life how much she loves me. I felt her love deep within the soul of my being, like being aware of an eternal root of a tree that goes back to the beginning of time.

So it confused me greatly when, as a new Mom, my Mom started to drive me crazy. I was gaining a new awareness of what it meant to be a Mom and I loved her even more, and yet when she came to visit, not even two days would go by and I found myself crabbing at her, " No Mom, please don't put that there...Ok, Ok, Mom you don't need to tell me how to drive....Mom, I got it, please don't talk to me while I'm....or Yes, I heard that three times already...Mom..GEEZ!"
I would become an irritated BRAT and my Mom would just IRK me. Even though I love her!
I couldn't figure it out. For years it went on like this. Angst would build in my chest before she came. I was lucky to have her fly across country to be with us, lucky to have her help with my children, lucky to be able to see my kids make paper hats with their Grandma and read to them at night....and yet I was irritated and crabby almost the whole duration of her stay. We worked it out so she would come visit me for a week, go visit her sister in SF for a week and then come visit me for a week again, partially because we both knew I needed a break from her.
And when she left, to tell the truth, I felt a strange sense of I could let go of something and finally be myself again..and then a huge burden of guilt at the same time. I love my Mom, I don't want to see her go, and yet I hate myself when she is was a torturous mystery to me.

When I took a course called the Landmark Forum, I got that there was a moment in my childhood when my father punished my brother. In that moment, I made up that she couldn't do something about it...stop it. That she couldn't do anything right. I got to see the for the rest of my life, I looked at her through this view point of "She can't do anything right, she's weak, she's ineffective."
And EVERY interaction with her I saw through that viewpoint or filter....even though I love her. (You could imagine what the impact was on myself and kids, how I saw myself as a Mom as peace there.)

I also get to see that all that happened was my father punished my brother. That happened. Th's just what happened. What I made that mean is what has been running my life and my relationship with my mother. A five year old's point of view was running my life.
I now get to see that I have a choice. I choose a new empowering relationship, I choose fun and freedom!

My relationship with my Mom is now one of love, joy and strength. I see her power, wisdom and commitment to her partner when she stays in Connecticut to be with him through health troubles rather than come visit us (the old me would have pouted and been stressed). I can enjoy the joy she has created in her life and not make her wrong.

When she visits now, I treasure her commentary, have a cocktail on a beach cliff restaurant and talk about life (She has traveled the world and is chock full with stories!) and giggle like new best girlfriends. I get to see her as a magical, girlish lady whose cheeks glow pink with joy when she talks about her adventures...I get to know her. I can even enjoy the ways she interacts with the kids, rides in the car and the way she puts back the dishes. Because she is here. Because she is alive.Because she is love. Because she is my Mom.
Than you Mom for being you. Perfect. Amazing. A Brilliant Beam of Light and Love.
I love you.

Zen Honeycutt

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