Grateful Sunday #16: Para Mi Madre

There really isn’t enough room in the span of one 24-hours to properly convey all the gratitude & love one has for their mother.  Mother’s Day is kind of a concentration of that, but it can never do proper justice.  Maternal love simply runs too deep, from mother to child and child to mother.  Since the dawn of man, our biological coding has proven this connection to be strong & true.  Viva la Madre!

My relationship with my mother over the past decade or so has been tumultuous and complicated, as we were both sorting our respective identities in the wake of my father’s passing.  I was newly a teenager, and she was newly a widow with three children who very much needed her nurturing & supportive love.  Where I sought independence and autonomy, she placed the well-being and safety of her children above all else.  My innate Polish stubbornness and her unyielding, unconditional love often met as pockets of warm and cold air would, and just as typically would result in a storm of emotions.

“Dear old Daddy, rest his soul /
left my Mom a heavy load /
she tried so very hard to fill his shoes /
Working hours without rest /
wanted me to have the best /
She tried to raise me right but I refused

And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole /
No-one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried /
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied /
That leaves only me to blame ‘cos Mama tried”

 

Whatever I thought or felt, all her decisions were made with my safety as the driving force behind them.  Which ultimately was love.  She protects me, because she loves me.  Contemporary culture still has something of an uncomfortable stigma against men openly displaying and/or discussing love (haven’t quite got a grasp on why we continue to cling to these archaic emotional standards, but so it goes).  However, I think a man’s love for his mother is accepted, embraced, and even encouraged.  The bond between mother and child, regardless of gender, is so strong that it overrides societal conventions on emotion.

I will forever stand in awe of my mother.  Occasionally I’ll be making new acquaintances and the conversation will turn in such a way that it would be awkward for me not to disclose about my father’s death, and always the response comes, “Oh, I’m so sorry…” (one of those uncomfortable social situations where it would be rude to not respond as such, but doesn’t hold much meaning or weight because you know virtually nothing else about the person).  But I’ll always stop them and say, “No, I was very lucky there.  My mother is the strongest woman I’ve ever met, and made no hesitation in the daunting task of raising three children alone.”

I have never once seen her falter emotionally.  The woman is nothing short of a diamond: bright, indestructible, rare, and beautiful.  The boundaries of our relationship have shifted considerably in the past 7 months, given the radical changes I’ve made in my life.  And I would say the developments have only been positive.  I owe my mother more than I’ll ever be able to repay her, financially, emotionally, and otherwise.  That being the case, my sobriety is both inspired by and dedicated to her.  Indeed, without her I would not be where I am today; I would be in a much darker, more harrowing world of danger and disease.

Today, I’m grateful to have a loving mother who cares.  Who cares more than anyone else in the world.  Thanks, mom.  For letting me be me.  For bringing me back.  For everything.

I love you.

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