It’s that time of the year again..
You know, the one where everyone posts about how awesome moms are, and how a mother’s love is unconditional.
I hate this time of year.
There are as many different kinds of moms, as there are types of people. After all, moms are people.
I can’t claim to know all the types of moms, but I want to share what Mother’s Day means to me.
I’ll warn you in advance, you will find no frills or flowers or eternal vows of devotion to my mom.
The best kind of mom, is the only kind the world likes to acknowledge on Mother’s Day. It’s the devoted mom. You know, the ones that inspired the phrase a mother’s love.
This kind of mom loves her kids, if they bring home straight A’s or if they catch them sneaking in after curfew. They love even their run away, or a kid that’s fallen to addiction.…They love even as they are called to the principal’s office for the third time, or a home run is made. They love their kids, whether a PHD candidate or a custodian. They love their tomboy girl and their girly-girl. They treasure girl-nights or girl talk. They are the mom’s whose daughters tell them everything. A kind of friendship that goes beyond a friendship, and can’t ever be broken.
But there are other kinds of moms that no one seems to talk about on Mother’s Day. The kind of mother made of shadows. My mom is one such mom.
This type of mom has prospects for their children, terms and conditions for her love. She sets a bar, but doesn’t reveal its height or location. This kind of mom, has expectations. She casts guilt like the sun throws a shadow. Shadows wax and wane, and at night you could say they’re invisible. But the shadows always come back.
They return and follow you everywhere.
It matters not what you say. As noon approaches the shadow comes closer. So close that you think your goal is possible – Love in return. But right when you feel you can reach out and grab it, the sun wanes again and takes your shadow with it. So close, you could have grabbed it. If only you’d tried harder, reached farther. Maybe it can be tried again tomorrow…
Day after day being subjected to this overwhelming burden, is like being stranded in the desert. So starved for the rain of affection that even your skin is thirsty. Lips cracked and bleeding you face your shadow. Talking hurts, but when you do open your mouth, what comes out is – I love you.
But it’s a shadow. You can rough up your knees on a scalding pavement, in a spectacular display of submission. But the shadow will just stare and stay silent.
And on some days at noon, you can’t even see it. You think you have it. But what came with the love was crushing obligation, and the only thing harder than reaching it, is keeping it. You were so close you could taste it. Approval, affection, advice. But there’s one thing you can never change about a shadow.
You can chase it, contort yourself to catch it. You can laugh or cry as you try. But whatever you do, you can never touch it.
This is what a mother’s love is to me.
If you identify with this post, and with this feeling, you might like my other post, Dear Teen Me.