There’s few commercialized holidays I can get behind, but Mother’s Day is one that feels genuine, regardless of predatory capitalism. I would say this is my obligatory homage to the mother figures (and actual mothers) that are near and dear to me, but it’s not. I already called both of them. But lest I not forget all of the mothers around the world doing a bang-up, thankless job of making sure their offspring are doing just fine. And to the ones that won’t or are incapable, I got love for y’all too. Circumstances are a bitch.
I could gush on forever about my own mother, who I am infinitely blessed to have in my corner. I truly am one of the luckiest kids (my sister included) around. But because this is a blog about relationships, let’s keep that same energy. Clearly there’s a reason why the terms “daddy/mommy issues,” “momma’s boy,” and “daddy’s girl” are used in the way that they are. It’s indicative of the old adage of “your <insert parental unit> is the first <insert man or woman> you fall in love with.” What I’m saying is, we can all blame our fucked up views and expectations of relationships on our parents. Simple enough right?
Jokes aside, this phenomenon is true. Speaking from experience, I know for a fact that my outlook on the female species was crafted in part by my closeness to my mother and grandmother. They’re amazing women, so logically most women must be amazing right? Wrong. But despite some women being absolute pieces of shit, there are much more doing the right thing, whatever that entails.
Even when I had encounters with of these less than scrupulous women, I never chalked that up to the whole female side of humanity. They were all isolated cases. Now, clearly there are tell-tale signs about certain women which makes it easier to profile them to avoid #wastemytime<year> or having my property destroyed, but on the whole, everybody gets a clean slate.
What’s really interesting is that despite my closeness to my mother, I was never clingy ala the stereotype of “momma’s boys.” I loved being around moms, but I can’t say my world ended whenever I was left to my own devices. My preference for her or my grandmother over my paternal units could be misconstrued as clingyness. I can see that. Even still, while they were close to me, they also let me live and fuck up. The latter being the most important part.
I wasn’t a pillar of male excellence when I was 19. There was a lot I had to learn about relationships and frankly, I still cringe to this day about my behavior. So anyway, at this point, I entered an age where I can start engaging in “adult” conversations. Some of which involved my father and his antics with my mom. Some involving her interactions with other dudes. Some involving her perspective as a woman in these situations and the mistakes she made as well.
From these stories, I really started to understand the choices at my disposal in terms of how I would determine my engagements with people in general. It took a while to solidify my truth in this space (read: finalized in 2018), but without my mom’s perspective and her ability to arm me with information to make my own decisions, I doubt I would have some to such a conclusion that fits who I am so well.
There’s something innate about women, mothers specifically, that make them really adept as being a guiding hand. The softness and tenderness coupled with the tact of navigation situations is the stuff of legends honestly. Even the women I came across romantically were always so willing to build me up. Women have a sixth-sense for potential and they’ll go to bat for you if you’re worthy. They got the sauce man, not much can compare. Especially the mothers that didn’t have much in the way of parental guidance like my mom did.
Granted, she had an amazing support system through her extended family; aunts, uncles, cousins, and such. But she didn’t get to enjoy her mom as much as I imagine she wanted to because of life’s circumstances. And that really sucks. Extended family is cool and all, but that connection to the one that made it possible to be me, that’s the real gravy right there. To be denied that nurturing presence that I’ve been around since doing hard time in womb, I can’t even imagine. So mad respect for my mom pulling through all of that and being literally the best mother I could have hoped for.
Beyond the obvious point that none of us would be here with a mother, I don’t think that qualifies by itself. Parenthood is a choice, a pact if you will. It’s a promise to give light to the life brought into this world. Plenty of women have kids they really should have had in the first place. Plenty of women have kids they didn’t want, but invariably needed because it gave them new perspective on their existence. As a man first and a non-parent second, I can’t really speak much on what it means to be a mother, but I can speak on how it feels to be a child of one and a witness to another child (my sister) getting that same treatment. And it’s awesome, in the original sense of the word.
It’s a cold world, but fortunately we have our mothers to keep us warm through life’s stupid storms. We may all be the captain of our ships, but we’re nothing with a crew. And for me, my mom’s always been my first-mate from day one, holding it down. Happy Mother’s Day.