Before I really get into writing this, I want to unequivocally state that I am NOT complaining or whining about this topic.
It is the end of March and I’ve spoken to my mom exactly twice this year. Both times, I called her. The first was to ask her if she wanted to go with Aubrey and me to Austin, and she said my stepdad would go with us, but not her. The second time, I called to ask her about what verses in the bible would be good for a wedding ring photo. Both conversations lasted about two minutes.
My sister was always my mom’s favorite, and since she adopted my sister’s five kids, they are her favorites. I know my mom loves me; there’s no question about that. But my mom doesn’t enjoy spending time with me, and certainly doesn’t go out of her way to do so. It wasn’t always that way, though. We used to meet for lunch, and then go wander through stores, window shopping. However, we’ve never had the same kind of relationship that I have with my daughter.
I know that my relationship with my kids is a bit unusual. I actually like them. It’s sometimes difficult with Matt because he is constantly irritated by/with me, but he’s funny as all hell. I used to get frustrated with him that he wasn’t using his musical talents, but now that he is, I couldn’t be more proud. Matt and I are night and day in a lot of ways, but the older he gets, the more he understands where I’m coming from. I think once he has kids, he’ll realize how much effort goes into things like not eating them when they do something unbelievably stupid.
My friend Will said that while some twins may have psychic links, Aubrey and I have more of a Vulcan mind meld. We speak in stereo, which freaks people out. It’s partially due to our watching the same shows over and over, like Burn Notice, Leverage, and Glee. We make the same connections and quote the same lines, usually at the same time.
Our Vulcan mind meld is why Aubrey and I can build things and rearrange furniture and do odd projects together, whereas Ron gets irritated that I’m not explaining myself well enough for him to understand me. With Aub, I can start a sentence and before I even get halfway through, she’s already doing whatever it is that I’m asking her to do. When I say thingy, she knows what that thingy is.
Now that Aubrey’s older, our relationship is evolving once again. She’s finally differentiated enough that she doesn’t feel like she always has to agree with me. She’s also old enough to know certain things about my life that I never would have told her before, such as telling her about my “first time,” and how much I regretted it.
When she decided that she wants to permanently move up north and Ron decided that he didn’t, Aubrey was the one who suggested that we’ll have to visit a LOT. When Matt lived in Denver, I thought I was going to die having to spend Christmas without him. I can’t imagine missing their birthdays, or just seeing them randomly for lunch. No matter what, at some point our family is going to be spread out across the country, and I am going to miss things. I still haven’t been able to resolve that in my head and heart, but I’ll deal with it as it comes. That’s what planes are for, right?
I think I have pretty fantastic relationships with my kids. Matt calls me every other day or so (and calls until he actually gets me, which can sometimes take a while), and of course, Aubrey still lives at home for another few months, so I see her every day. My point is that if they call me because they want to have lunch or go do something, I don’t foist them off onto Ron. They love Ron and Ron loves them, but I’m their mom.
A few days ago, my dental hygienist made a comment about Aubrey and I getting along so well and doing so much stuff together. She said she wished she had that kind of relationship with her mom. I said I do, too. It’s not just that I wish my mom would take time to have lunch with me without bring along the entire family, but I wish that my mom listened to me. It’s not so funny, but we joke that the fastest way to get my mom to hang up the phone is to try to tell her something about my life or Aubrey’s. She adores Matt, so talking to her about him is okay, but if I start talking about Aubrey, she suddenly has to go.
I am far past the point where I need my mommy to make my decisions for me, but I don’t think anyone ever outgrows wanting their mother to be there for them. I don’t know if my mom won’t, can’t, or just doesn’t want to. Maybe she doesn’t realize that it is an honor to be invited to drive to Austin with Aubrey and me. We rarely bring anyone else with us, as we spend most of our time singing and laughing, while not everyone else appreciates what they consider to be a lack of conversation. For Aub and I, music IS a conversation.
At that same dental visit mentioned above, the receptionist and office manager were talking about nice people being scary when necessary, and I told them about how Aub’s high school is still terrified of me. They both said that they couldn’t imagine my being scary, but I pointed out that when it comes to my kids, I can be one pissed off mama bear. I attack with vicious sarcasm, leaving people scarred by my words. I know exactly when to use phrases like, “Texas Board of Education,” and “American Civil Liberties Union” and “Facebook.”
I guess my point is that I wish I had a mother who is like me; one who wants to spend time with me as much as I want to spend time with my kids. I want a mom that actually listens instead of changing the subject when I mention things like my having surgery or how awesome my photos turned out from whatever event. Actually, what I want is a mom who lets ME be the center of attention every now and again. Like I said, I know that my mom loves me. I just wish that she liked me, too.
I’m willing to admit and accept that maybe we just don’t have anything in common anymore. I’m an adult with two grown children, while she has five kids under the age of 20. Of course little kids are more exciting and fun and funny than 43 year old adults. I realize that my sense of humor borders on the bizarre, and not everyone understands it, so not everyone finds me funny. But there are things that we could do together…like sewing, or making tamales, or taking a drive to Austin for the afternoon…if she wanted to.
Like Michael said in Burn Notice, “I wish I had a house on Star Island filled with strippers, but wishing don’t make it so, man.” All my wishing in the world isn’t going to make my mom think I’m cool. What I can do, though, is make sure that my children know that I think THEY are cool and amazing and awesome and smart and funny and that even if they weren’t my children, I would still want to hang out with them. While my mom may not think I’m cool, I know I absolutely must be, because my kids are beyond anything I could ever ask for.
“Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be ashamed to cry
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day”