I’m thinking about my mother today. About how, not too long before she left my father, we visited a man in our home town who made interesting pottery sculptures. After the divorce, pottery became a main focus of her life.
We both liked the sculptures, which had odd but striking faces on them, echoing ancient carvings and petroglyphs.
I liked them enough that she bought me several, including this red sun plaque. She bought me these things even though she rarely understood what made me happy.
I’m thinking about her today, knowing that I was probably a confusing child for her. Her perception was that she spent hours on the phone with me in my teens and 20s, (I do, ahem, tend to talk), and she was devastated that it didn’t “help,” in that my need to talk didn’t go away.
My perception is that she was hardly there emotionally, too immersed in her own tragedies and overwhelmed by motherhood. I see how much I may have confounded and irritated, and at the core, worried her because, barely able to sort out her own emotional needs, she was not helping me sort out mine.
Is that really how it has to go sometimes — that with the best of wills and intentions, two people cannot connect enough to help?
I remember once that she came down to my college to drive 11 hours back home with me in my rattling old uncomfortable car. But I didn’t understand that she was looking for time with me and offered a ride to a bunch of friends. So in a car ride packed with college students and no air-conditioning, we drove home, enduring a flat tire in rural North Carolina on the way. I was flabbergasted when a friend told me what her intention had been, and how profoundly I’d missed a chance for the in-depth support I was craving.
But over the years, she came through in many important ways. Before she died, we made our peace.
These days, I have her things scattered about the house, including the face on this sun, which is out by our front door. It is goofy, so it is accessible. It is has a wise look to its happiness, reminding me how relationships persevere despite misunderstandings and personality differences.
Reminding me that a simple gesture, like an impulse buy for my daughter, might gently reach far into the future, and offer her peace.
This post is part of a series of posts on trust, based on the 21-Day Salutes originated by blogger Colleen Wainwright. The intention is to write daily to help shift a habit. Originally, she had been told that it takes 21 days of new behavior to change a habit. She has since found out that it is apparently takes much longer. Oh well….