I would be having some sort of Mother's Day extravaganza with my mother, but she's in Budapest somewhere. Her itinerary was long and complicated. She lives in the Bay Area, but she flew to my uncle's home outside of Philadelphia before heading for points east and her European itinerary. In recent years, she's traveled all over Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and everywhere she can in the United States. They they go, my mother and her brother, heading to points unknown.
So we would be sitting down at a restaurant and having a meal tomorrow if she were here. Two years ago, she and my youngest son took a walk that ended up almost giving her heat stroke, but mostly, Mother's Day is a pleasant experience with presents and cake. Last year we toasted with Mimosas at a lovely place in Rockridge.
It hasn't been easy these past few years. I managed to not only undo my life but my mother's as well. I had a nice little family, and we hosted most of the holidays. I had a husband who was loving and caring toward my mother, who never forgot anything that she'd done for us. He took walks with her, barbecued for her. We all went to movies and on trips. And when I decided that the family time was over, I neglected to consult all who were involved. Her, for one. Well, she was consulted, but I didn't like her answers and she didn't like my questions.
For over a year, I felt that my mother hadn't supported my choice. She entertained my husband and his new girlfriend. She continued or tried to continue the relationship they had, and I was offended and hurt. It seemed to me that there were two sides to this story, and she'd picked the wrong side. She'd crossed the line in the sand. She wasn't there for me, the one who was related to her.
So things grew strained and slightly horrifying as holidays came and went, people sitting stiffly on couches, trying to invoke other holidays when things were happier (or when, at least, people pretended to be). We all felt things were off kilter and sad and weird, but we kept doing what families often do--sit in rooms for some reason or another and try to figure out why.
But then things began to change. My divorce became not a mirage in the distance but something that might really happen. I was able to tell my mother how this situation had made me feel, and she was able to do the same. My mother and uncle met and then began to like Michael, the new man who cooks for them but does not barbecue nor go on walks.
Sometimes in early 2007, I started to feel lifted out of the darkness that was the in-between time, the time that came from the place no one wanted to be standing in. The time that was rocky and dangerous, everyone with cut knees and bleeding fingers. We learned how to be a family in different ways, accommodating all our feelings, moving into a new way of interacting, standing in a place that was completely new.
"Let's start over," we all seemed to say. "Now that I'm feeling better, let's go have drinks."
So here's to my mother, our new place of being, the place that we can stand together. Here's to my mother, the traveling woman somewhere in Budapest. Raise your glass to her, and to your mother, and to change. Cheers.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org