Tag Archives: mothers

Writing close to the bone


I’m currently writing a piece that is about a woman, looking at the body of her husband, and her conflicted feelings about the death of some one she had to care for for years.

It’s kind of about my mum, but not my mum. I have no idea how she felt when my dad died. I’ve never had to provide ongoing care to someone other than my kids, and they grew up. So I’m wandering in her imaginary head, putting thoughts in there that probably never existed there. She’s no longer around to object.

Still, it’s oddly cleansing to do it.

My family never talked about anything like feelings. We weren’t really supposed to have them. We weren’t supposed to love or care or talk about how we felt about anything.

A lot of the time it was pretty lonely, and I’m still learning valuable life lessons about interdependence and letting go and allowing myself to ask for what I want out of life and relationships. I still don’t talk about feelings much, except perhaps with my galpals, and maybe not even then.

But the feelings go into my writing. They make me write dark or funny or bitter or sweet (not too much of the latter, mind). They make me have to write. So maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t talk about them much. I have a rich, untapped vein, ready for the mining.

So off I go, making up vicious thought, killing off people or having them kill. Playing with their hearts and minds to rehearse what normal relationships might feel like, what malign ones might do to a person.

Some things won’t see he light of day – too dark, too personal. But when I write close to the bone, that’s when my writing is best. Tis a conundrum.

Mothers and daughters and mothers and daughters on and on and on


ImageSo here comes another Mother’s Day, and with it the maelstrom of feelings that are associated with this Hallmarky “holiday”. I have a hate-hate relationship with Mother’s Day. When I was a kid, it was a day when I would try to connect with my mother, unsuccessfully. I always did something minimal for Mother’s Day – as an unemployed poor person for most of my mother-daughter relationship, I resorted to “Spritual Bouquets” (home made cards offering prayers for the person) or something equally forgettable. I don’t remember Mother’s Day particularly well. I suppose we went out to eat. Or something. It all seemed rather bleah.

And then I became a Mother. And after nights and nights of solo parenting while my ex was working or deployed or otherwise occupado, he never did a thing for me for Mother’s Day. “You’re not my mother,” he’d say. Yeah, true. But I’d organize the kids to do something for him for Father’s Day or do something special. Instead I reminded him to call HIS mother. It hurt, a lot. I wanted praise for a job well done, or at least a recognition that my mothering of the kids made life easier for him to father them. But maybe it didn’t. Mothers days passed. I didn’t really care.

Then my mother, ever the competitive one, superseded my father’s glorious passing on Christmas Eve to die on Mother’s Day. It was a blatant attempt to win in the sympathy contest. It worked. So Mother’s Day became even more rife.

I used to be proud of my parenting. I stayed at home for a few years (we were lucky enough to do this), and I thought I’d done a good job. In amongst the child rearing, while my mum was still around, I fought her influence on me. We were never close, and this I regret. As I’ve said elsewhere, Karma sucks, and now the pride I took in parenting is shadowed by the ongoing break existing between my daughter and I.  It’s still deep and dark and murky and I can’t see a way past it. I dread coming to the realization that I may never see her again. And that this may be what she wants. Yowza.

I sense my mother had her difficulties with her mother, too. She was one of the youngest of a large clan and her mother was ferocious. I imagine little foolishness was tolerated. My mum moved away from her mother and stayed away. We saw her mother now and again, but I didn’t get the feeling that they were bosom buddies or anything. Our family never said they loved each other – I’m sure my mother’s family would have thought that was just a terribly odd thing to say.

Maybe that’s the way daughters and mothers exist, but I am not sure about that. Today I saw a mother and daughter out for lunch together, laughing and enjoying being together, and my heart broke – for the lost opportunities with my mum, now long gone, for the years passing away from my daughter.

This Mother’s Day is also my daughter’s birthday. Plus it will be about 5 years since we’ve talked. Have I mentioned my hate-hate relationship with the day? So this Mother’s Day, I get to relive my mother and my daughter, my cold and now lost marriage, and all that crap. I suspect I’ll have to hit the beach and throw some rocks.

On the good side, I have two lovely sons. Thank god. And a friend who knows how important it is to get some positive stroking on this sharp, painful day. I love them all dearly.

So, all the rest of you – go talk to your mothers. Yeah, they’re insufferably boring and intrude into your life and say things that hurt and mess with your head. They probably wear horrible clothes and are shockingly clued out. But trust me, even if you think you hate them, you’re gonna miss them when they’re gone. See them while you can.

Miss you, mum. Hope you are somewhere beautiful. Love you.

The sorry life of the average GPS….


Do you ever wonder about the poor woman who dictates directions in your little directional machine?  We’ve all become so dependent on her – like our mom, we rely on her to tell us which way to go, where things are, what we should be doing. But we treat her like our mom, too, ignoring her when we’d rather go a different way, or deliberately switching directions just to drive her crazy and hear her muttering:

“recalculating…recalculating…”

“When possible, make a legal U-turn”

“Turn left in 100 meters….recalculating…”

And laughing merrily when she gets things wrong.

I imagine sometimes she may just want to get a martini or five and leave us to our own devices, or direct us all over town, while chuckling to herself in her metallic way.

“Turn left on main street in one kilometer.”

“But it’s a one way street! I can’t do that!”

“Recalculating…” “turn left on sidewalk in 900 meters”

“What???”

(hic) “Hit pedestrian in 5 meters…”

Of course, many of us just blindly obey the machine voice, even when she makes no sense. Someone listened to her and drove into a lake. Others end up in the middle of fields. You can’t tell me that wasn’t deliberate on her part. She was just tired of endlessly “recalculating”.

Who among we parents can’t relate to that?