Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Sunday is Mother's Day. It's a day for cards, flowers, chocs, and just telling mom how much you love her, and how much those little stretch marks mean to you she got from carrying you in the first place.

I think of a few women I know on line, who are extraordinary mothers. One who has kept going for her family after her son suicided. Another, a woman who never gave up and kept on going when the entire state of Washington wanted to put her daughter in a mental hospital and lock the door, throw away the key and leave her to rot for 60 years until her natural death.

I want to to make this clear. I am not a mother. I joke about being a cat mother- but it's not the same, unless I was the actual cat who gave birth to my three cats I have shared my life with.

But I do know that motherhood (and fatherhood) are the toughest jobs in the universe. You think the President is hard work? Try being a mom of a toddler, or a teenager, or a baby with the colic. That's hard. How difficult is it to know from the moment the baby is born, mother and father are responsible for it, for all it's needs, cares, comfort and to teach right from wrong. Dr. Joy Browne, a Radio Shrink on WOR radio in NYC says Parents give children "roots and wings".

Roots and Wings. I like that.

Every person I know who is a mother , says the best day of their life was the day their child was born. I can believe that. All pain from labor is gone, when they put that small wrinkled baby in your arms and you take your first look at something that has been kicking you for 9 months. I don't doubt it. The best day of my life was the day I held my best friends new born baby, he was 12 hours old and he still had the new baby smell. He was the most perfect, beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.

And I think of my mom. She didn't know when she adopted me, she was getting a child with a brain different than the other toddlers. I think she thought she was getting a cute, blond haired, blue eyed, child that was slightly precocious. She and my dad never realized in their wildest dreams or nightmares, that this beautiful baby would be different than the rest of the family, uncomfortable around people, prefer the company of a book (indeed reading at 2), make a suicide attempt at 4 years of age, and again in 7th grade. A baby who grew up to be a woman who never felt comfortable in her skin, and always felt, and still does, it's like the whole world disappeared and she is the last human alive and that's OK.

I have caused my mom a lot of heart ache in her life time, she shouldn't have experienced . 5 hospitalizations in psychiatric facilities. 2 hospitalizations for tonsils (they grew back) and one for pneumonia. Several suicide attempts. A crash and burn out in Grad School, where I am still dealing with the loss of my broken dreams. My mom would make a great grandmother, as her mother was a great grandma to my sister and me. And yet, this is something I cannot give to her. Instead she always gave me an ear when I needed it, took me to the city every summer when I hit adolescence for a Broadway matinee twofer- and lunch in some hoity toitey restaurant. How my mom was more excited going shopping for my wedding gown than I was.

Instead my my mother always provided comfort. Comfort when my sister and I were small and we would be driving to visit her mother in Brooklyn, she would play games with us like with the oil depositories on exit 12 and 13, of the New Jersey Turnpike- how many color red cars can we spy? When I had pneumonia, she would kiss me every night and tuck me in and I felt safe and secure like I did when I was a child and wished I could go back to my childhood with my baby teddy and doctor dentons and my mother tucking me in.

Now, even in my most mad, most psychotic episodes, most suicidal, it's for my mother I cry out for. She is like Wonder Woman, and will wave a magic wand and make everything better.

And I feel the old Jewish guilt- I haven't been a good daughter. This illness has robbed me of really knowing my mother, really being her friend. No grandchildren to qvell about.

So this Mother's Day, my feelings are mixed. I love my mother more than anything. I just wish I was more like her. And that includes having a brain like hers, to lead a normal life.I hope I can still lead a normal life. I just hope, she knows this and accepts that. And loves me anyway.


Ana said...

How many times we have to tell you that you don't have a problem with your brain?
I have said it, Gianna has said it.
No! You are not a terrible daughter and I don't think that your mother would trade you for any other daughter.
Don't be so hard on yourself.

susan said...

I know that but I wish my mom had a daughter who lived in a McMansion and gave her a boy and girl grand child..... because my mom was really really awesome.

Wendy said...

The truth of the matter is that it's the CHILDREN that make a good mother. Without them, we are nothing! I don't know your mother, but regardless I know that she wouldn't trade you for a million daughterette's who live in McMansions with little preppy grandchildren. (I really don't know anyone who would actually dream of that let alone want it!!!) Your mom wants you. I'm sure she would love you to be blessed with wellness, good health, and no problems. But that isn't reality for moms, we get what we get, homemade or adopted. Your mom is really awesome, BECAUSE she has you not inspite of having you.
Thank god for your Mom, and Thank god for you...
Wendy (((((((((((((((Susan)))))))))))))

susan said...

Thank you Wendy. You are on terrific mother, and I do look up to you, as I said in the piece.

Stephany said...

Thanks for the kind words Susan, this is very kind of you.

susan said...

No problem Stephany.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope that Koda's dad makes him a Mickey Waffle.

Beth said...

Susan, that was truly beautiful. An extremely personal yet very tender love letter to your wonderful mom.

(I may not call or write much, A keeps me running all day. But I check in on your blog every evening before I go to bed. You really have a gift with words, my dear friend.)


susan said...

Thank you Beth.

And the best day of my adult life was holding a brand new Andy with the new baby smell........ and admiring how tiny he was.

They don't stay that tiny very long though. !

sallyo said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother! I'm sure she loves you no matter what and wouldn't trade you for anything else in this world. From reading your posts, I suspect that you are more like her than you give yourself credit for with your compassion and wit.

Immi said...


bipolarlife said...

What a nice tribute to your mother. Sounds like you are both very lucky to have each other.

susan said...

@Sally, thank you. I am truly honored you think I am like my mother. I always thought I favored my dad!

@Immi- back at cha!

@Bipolar Life, thank you. I am blessed to have my mother in my life still. She really is awesome.

John FW said...

Susan -

Beautiful praise for a beautiful woman - you're both so fortunate to have and share such love for each other. And as your friends remind you, stop singing the unworthiness song - or reading from that script. A gifted writer like you knows bad fiction when she reads it. So here's belated Mother's Day thanks to you for all that mothering and nurturing flowing through and through you. It's one of your gifts to us, you know. :-)


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