Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom++

Happy Mother's Day to all who have birthed, loved, nurtured or helped a child of God to grow. In my less-than-humble opinion, Motherhood is a sacred position that has way more to do with one's character than it does with the biology of procreation so I find it hard to generally accept this special day sometimes. Many who we ought to be supporting and celebrating are left out while many who only used procreation as a way of developing their (for lack of a better word) character defects relish in the limelight.

Oh well, I suppose this is the way with any holiday of the sort...

My own relationship with my mother (now 87 years young), is a gift of the program of AA. I was about 2 years dry and was "stuck" in my program and life so I sought outside help with a psychiatrist. I am of the opinion that outside help is generally (often?) useful but I realize now that I was avoiding an eventual passage through AA's 12 steps - not avoiding as in completing a term paper but avoiding as in I was sure I was going to die if I did what I presumed the steps in AA would have me do. After nearly 2 years of therapy (he was very "old school" and didn't use drugs), we had a "breakthrough" where I realized 2 facts that I'd never faced up to:
  1. my parents had done the absolute best that they could too raise and nurture me - a surprisingly good job given the childhood and parenting that they'd had
  2. it was a pretty poor job given any of the most generous of standards I could offer
I felt free and, for the 1st time in my life, a huge burden I didn't realize I was carrying was relieved. I invited my parents into my life in a new way and I talked about the "miracle of AA" (+ a little therapy I would allow). While that was, in fact, great relief, I had no idea that I was just getting started.

I was over 5 years sober (dry) when the wheels came off completely and I was forced to really get honest and seek help inside the program of AA. It's a long story but, for the purposes of this article, at about 7 years sober I made amends to my mother and father.

Through a 4th and 5th step as a consequence of excellent sponsorship and great support in an AA community to really do the work I needed to do, I realized the most dysfunctional element in our little family had been me. Really, a me I hardly remember today, but who, for 33 years, was constantly confused (regardless how much guidance was offered me), afraid, and isolated. The only way I knew to test anyone's love was to create problems of situations that I know my parents never desired in their lives.

As, again under the guidance of excellent sponsorship, I made those amends (including financial!!!), I was completely unprepared for the result. For the first time, I had unconditional love for them as they were.

My dad died a few years after that (thank God we were "complete") and, though I wouldn't wish another day - another breath - of the physical life he was reduced to, I miss him and remember him every day. As a widow, I've watched my mom bloom and flower into the happiest I've ever seen her.

I love it when Pam blogs about her Mama - it could be a transcription from some of our conversations. Mom hides information from me to "punish" us, she is independent until she gets scared and then she can't get my help fast enough, she is manipulative, dishonest, indirect, and generally negative.

Our plan today is to plant some iris, go to brunch in Estes Park, play a round of miniature golf and hang out for most of the day. I know for a fact there will be a constant stream of negativity cast on herself, me and anyone else that some could stick on (waitress, staff, clerks).

...and, I love her so much I could burst...

Her biggest problem in her life (she'll probably tell you as soon as you meet her), is that her son doesn't come to visit often enough.

Isn't that grand?

3 comments:

Scott W said...

Happy Mother's Day to you and your mom.

Steve E. said...

Today is almost history. Monday, go visit your Mom -grin!

Syd said...

It is great what you wrote. I hope that it was a good day for all.