Happy birthday to my mom today. She is 46.
I was discussing with someone how fortunate and grateful I am to have my siblings. When I hear someone speaking badly of their own siblings I am truly sad for them. Siblings are sort of their own brand of magic, contributing to your childhood and providing you with a leg up on memories that would have otherwise been forgotten. They get you. They get where you came from and the reasons for your aspirations of where you're going. They are a whole other world that you get to sneak preview in the intimate way that no one else can. They're guaranteed to always be around. You can have a blow out fight with them and make up within the hour. They forgive and really let it go; they hold no grudges. They wish you the best and mean it with all their hearts. When they ask how you've been, they actually want to know the answer and don't shy away when it's a bad one. As the eldest, I watch out for them and lecture them at length when [I feel] they need lecturing. When I need a shoulder, I have four sets to consult. Nothing beats it. I am better because of them; to this day they continue to make me want to set a good example. The mind blow here is that these whole worlds are spinning around because of poor planning and lack of contraception. Life is a miracle or a really funny joke. Neither would be disappointing.
Back to 46. The last time she came back we had a good brawl and bawl and she actually told me that she used to resent that she had the five of us because she felt like we took her life away. Then when we were taken away by dad she thought "What am I supposed to be doing again?" and instead of doing something, she just drifted. I have had a wide range of feelings about her, anything from pity to anger to plain astonishment.
I still find myself in want of that relationship I see between mothers and daughters, but I've had several women in my life that are powerhouses and have provided me with motherly goodness and I'm thankful for that. I don't know if I seek this out, if it comes to me, or if it's just how women are geared-instinctively guarding and guiding one another. I am happy to be a woman; we allow and encourage each other to feel. Men are often taught to suppress emotions in order to retain their manliness and save face. I would feel so trapped by that.
So for my mom's birthday I will say thanks to her for the good stuff, the wild ride that got me where I am today, and for making me four amazing siblings. I can't go without acknowledging the role my dad took on as both parents when we moved in with him and he picked up the pieces; without him I would be in a pretty lowdown spot. I will also express my thanks to the women in my life that have given me guidance, encouragement and the strength to laugh at myself when the shit hits the fan. Sometimes that's all we can do.
(Photo: Me, sister & mom)