Sunday, December 2

Mothering


I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of living when my mom dies. I’m not a mama’s girl by the usual definition, I’m more of a girl adored by her mama. I’m also a girl who never understood, related to, or liked her father, so although I didn’t have the typical mama’s girl relationship, I was thoroughly convinced of her unwavering love for me. But if you wanted to tattoo “Mama’s Girl” on me, I’d wear it proudly.

It was in Romania when I learned how huge the job of a mother is. I went there the most naïve 19 year old on the planet (before the days of internet) and what I experienced was that 100% of the children abandoned before the age of three were severely autistic. Which meant -most of them. What this showed me was how big-a-deal the job of a mom is. I went there because I saw a need for babies to be held; what I was oblivious to is that there is a point very early on that it’s too late. That sounds harsh, and there’s much that goes into that statement because my mom adopted two of these children. They were 6 & 7 when the adoptions were finally complete and despite MY MOM becoming their mom, their autism is and was so severe that to discuss it would be changing the subject. An infant needing a mother is like a small seed needing water.

I feel very weak these days as my mom starts to hunch with arthritis in her spine and gets scammed by a world she doesn’t understand. I’m in a position now of needing to mother her and try to fend off and fix the attack from the bad guys she knows nothing about. At times that’s the hardest part of her getting old… my inability to wrap my fucking mind around how to protect her when she can’t see the bad in anyone, and answers the phone to these ass-hats that prey on the elderly. Being in the mom role and trying to explain to HER why the world doesn’t protect her, and why she can’t do things she’s done her whole life (like answer the phone), is upsetting. I don’t want the roles to swap. There are more systems in place for protecting a 13 year old girl that knows more about how this shitty world works than there are for an elderly woman who doesn’t understand much anymore. I’m actually still searching for ways build protection, as this problem is unending and getting worse.

My heart is too soft. Watching her hobble away from my front door with her cane, as she beams from one ear to the other (because she only sees good in the world and she only feels love) is almost more difficult than it is sweet. I don’t want her bent over. I don’t want her to age. I don’t want her to leave.

I’ve said before, “being a mom” is bigger than me. Why? I never say that part… I don’t know how anyone’s heart can handle the love you must feel by being a mom. She’s so full of love for me it’s overwhelming. I think my heart would have exploded if I’d ever had a child.

I remember stepping out of a room and into the hall at the orphanage with Florina in my arms and sinking to the floor in tears; accepting I could accomplish nothing for her. No amount of Natalie love would fill any holes in the heart of this little girl who was so miserable she chewed holes into her hands and pulled her hair out in clumps. Did she want to be loved? Desperately. So did all the children that tried to climb me like a tree when I walked into the room. I would be felled by their insistence to be held and loved. This was not the case when an orphanage worker came into the room. These little ones knew where the love was. As I say, at 19 I was so naive as to think I could hold children and DO SOMETHING. I could do nothing but temporarily radiate what they should have been getting all along in their tiny fragile state.

I felt a lot of anger about this too, because I had this ridiculously perfect example of motherly love and trying to wrap my head around the severity of it all in the orphanage was impossible. I still to this day don’t understand that lack. I still to this day personally receive it in abundance.

People ask me if I’m going to have kids. People who think I’m not too old, and I still believe my heart would burst. I’m finally convinced some people have more love to give than others, and frankly I feel like my heart manufactures too much already. The notebook I’m writing in is my reminder with love note stickers all over the cover by one of the teenagers I mother. “You’re my favorite human”, “I love you”, “You deserve everything” “I freaking <3 you”. Again, they aren’t mine, but they feel my love. Would I be a good mom? No question. I’ve learned a lot from this imperfect person that perfectly loves. As that seed needing water, my mom has stood beside me with her watering can my whole life. She’s taken pride in watching me grow and has never stopped telling me she loves me

When the day comes that this mama’s girl is without her mom, the world will be a different place. One I will struggle to live in -not being watered continually. And I will relate to Florina better –in her desire to chew holes into her hands and pull her hair out, because without a mom I will be thoroughly incomplete too.

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