Many years ago, I promised my younger son that I would take him to the Winchester Mystery House. At some point, we were driving on a highway and saw one of the many signs that seem to be all over California advertising Sarah Winchester's bizarre mansion built out of fear and superstition. For such a relatively obscure attraction, the Winchester does its good share of advertising. And once, way back, we were coming home from Santa Cruz or down Interstate 5 and saw the sign. It was then that I made the promise I have never kept.
My son and I talked about this never fulfilled promise earlier this year, and again, I promised to take this now 21 year old man to the Winchester. And when he moves home in August, we will be going. Finally. A promise finally fulfilled, bad mother no longer.
Yet there are other promises I made to my children that are still unfulfilled. They just aren't as tangible as the Winchester Mystery House promise. They can't be identified as easily, mostly because these unfulfilled promises don't have advertising on every interstate. I promised to always be there for them. To support them. To encourage and applaud. To give them useful reality checks. To be on their sides, in their corners at all times.
And yet, I know I've failed a dozen times for each child, over and over again not being the mother I want to be, the mother I promised myself and them I would be. I had aspirations and didn't reach them. I wanted to be exactly who I thought I should be, but that perfect mother image was like a holy grail. Like Lancelot, I reached to grab it and the perfect mother grail disappeared.
But now, both of them older, all I can do is apologize. I tell them that I tried. I acknowledge that I failed. I am there for them as much as I can be, but I've given up on the grail of perfect motherdom. And now it is easier to be a good, okay, halfway decent mother. And now, I can pick up the pieces of what broke off during their growing up years and make amends. I can get into the car. I can pick up my son. We can go to the mystery house, walk the corridors to no where and laugh about it.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org