One of the issues I’ve recently shared with Angelina in the last couple of months is this inner personality quirk we’ve termed crazy. Angelina and I believe we all have this 20% of ourselves that is hidden from friends, family members and the public and is only shown to those who know how to receive it. Crazy can range anywhere from non stop crying to uncontrolled anger. At forty-one, and as a gay male, I believe the advantage I have over straight men is that I’m able to discuss and process my feelings without holding back. Sometimes it gets me into trouble and often times I find myself making a subject all about me, when in reality it’s totally about something else; much like I’m with this topic on Mother’s Day.
Life can make us crazy.
What I love about Mother’s Day this year is that I’m able to look back at all the struggles and sacrifices my mom made while raising three kids and understand what it cost her to make those sacrifices, all while living life.
The shit wasn’t easy.
After I turned forty, something happened to me psychologically that has made me feel on edge every once in a while. When I was in my thirties, I could burn a candle at both ends and still have energy for more. Thanks to that, I was able to complete a Masters and two credentials. But today, at forty – one, sometimes I feel as if I’m going to mentally slip into a black hole so deep I won’t be able to recover.
My mom had three kids by the age of forty: one with ADHD, another with full blown diabetes and kidney failure and me – a future gay. How did she do it? I remember my mom having to work from 6 AM to 2 PM as a housekeeper at a local convalescent home. When she’d get home, she would head straight to her bedroom, shut the door and remain sequestered for two hours. As a young boy, I didn’t understand why my mom locked herself away from her family for those two hours a day. Today – I completely get it.
Love to all Mothers!
Growing up, I was sometimes frustrated with my mom.
Why did she make us go to church so much? Why couldn’t I have a boyfriend, everrrrrryone else did! (Or in my 16 year old mind, they did.) Why didn’t she go back to school like she always said she wanted to, in order to get a better job? And, why oh why won’t she get a boyfriend?!
Looking back now, I realize how much my mom sacrificed and put her own life aside, to raise three daughters on her own.
Although I have my own issues that I have had to work through in regards to church, I am glad my mom had us there so much. She kept us so busy to keep us out of trouble and was hoping it was a positive environment. I know her intentions were in the best place and although I still struggle with some things in regards to church, I appreciate that she put us there.
I am glad she was so strict about the boyfriend rule. There was no dating allowed till I was out of high school. When I look back at the boys I was crushing on at the time, I thank all the gods I was not allowed to have a relationship with and potentially make a choice that had long-term consequences. This forced to be more committed to school and put my education as a priority, if only because I was so bored and there was nothing else to do. Except for my make-up, there was always time for my make-up.
I know my mom would often talk about wanting to continue her education to advance in her career, but now I realize she did not do it because she had three teenage girls at home and she knew she would have to leave us alone at night to attend school. She did not want us to feel like she was absent from our life and she probably knew all the havoc I would try to wreck without supervision.
Although I know it meant putting herself completely aside, my mom did not date while we were teenagers. She was very conscientious about the effect this could have on us and she did not want to bring different men into our lives. In hind sight, I wanted her to get a boyfriend as a distraction, so I could run amok. She was wise to this though and kept her focus completely on us.
As an adult now in my 30s, I can say “I get it.” My mom showed us unconditional love by putting her life completely on hold to be a single parent. She was present 100% in our lives and we did not get anything past her. She dedicated all her “free” time to us and rarely did things for herself.
As an adult now with my own step-son, I really do not know how she did it. I feel like somedays I am barrrrely hanging on and I have a supportive husband. My mom raised us three girls on her own, worked full-time and dedicated many of her weekends to either our sports activities or church community projects.
I “get” her rules and decisions now and am deeply grateful for the sacrifices she made.
In love and daughterhood,