So today is Mothers Day. I should talk about my Mom, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so this might save you about five minutes of reading right off the bat. My first literary criticism:
Me n’ Mom. And that’s pretty much been the state of our relationship ever since. Not even one moment of letdown or existential angst.
You think I’m not being candid and opening my soul, and showing you the jagged bits that lie just past the mask of small talk–some deeply buried bit of motherly disappointment. That’s what you’re thinking.
That’s what my mother has done to me. Between this lack of a tragic past and no suitable vice to speak of, my writing’s street cred is severely damaged. So thanks a lot, Mom! I can barely wear my dark clothing with a straight face. Can’t even pen a proper suicide-cry-for-help poem.
Was it too much to ask to have you let me down just one time? One time! Could you not find it in your heart to, just once, callously put your needs before mine–to not be there just one of the times I was sick or sad? Couldn’t you have, on occasion, barraged me with pessimism, plant even a single seed of doubt in my choices, lowered my expectations in myself just to be realistic and play it safe, or at the very, very least, take a little ambient anger out on me?
Human beings are allowed lapses, moments of weakness, to occasionally hurt the ones they love. It happens all the time! But you…never. Seriously. You’re freaking ridiculous. If I wrote you as a character, I’d have to add a dark spot just so people would believe it—book reviewers would be like, “This mother character is a pleasant, if naive, notion…but could never happen in the real world.”
I mean, part of growing up is realizing your elders have flaws—and then being shocked by that—and then being scared by that—and then resenting that—and finally coming full circle and accepting that, and them, on a deepening level of understanding. But you! You just bat your eyes at that whole paradigm and transcend human frailty by maintaining a nigh divine, Platonic ideal of maternal perfection.
This one time, in a grad school writing class, I’m sitting at the table, comparing story notes, when the guy next to me shares some of the cathartic emotions he deals with, when writing, and tells us all about how his parents once OK’d an antidepressant medication that turned him into a numb robot, and they couldn’t be bothered to care enough to get it switched, so he lost an entire year of is impressionable, young life in a drug-clouded, emotionally-retarded haze, and he’s never been able to fully forgive them for that.
And what did I have to say?
“Uh…this one time…I skinned my knee.”
“I was scared…”
“My Mom made me feel better, and loved, and centered, and confident in the knowledge that I was special and important for years and years to come.”
It was sooooooo embarrassing!
The closest thing I have to parental angst was growing up with the knowledge that all my friends thought of you as the “hot mom”.
Every single time I put pen to paper and delve into even the slightest bit of dark prose, I can feel the eyes of the world on me–whispering, smirking, saying, “What business does he have writing this?”
This is the hell that is my life.
So thanks again, Mom. Thanks for ruining me with happiness.
Love you too.