I woke up this morning to a tear stained pillow. I lay there, my eyes closes, wishing I were still asleep, because when I’m asleep I feel no pain.
I wish my Mother were still alive, I need to feel her arms around me. But she passed over to the other side many years ago, and no amount of wishing will ever bring her back. I need her right now, I need to hear her voice, I need to feel her love, but all I have is a house empty of people in which four legged creatures run and play, obvious to the dark, tortured thoughts that roam around in my head.
My Mother and I fought a lot, hell, we didn’t fight, we waged war against one another. For many years just being in close proximity of the two of us was enough to cause damage to your ears, and possible to your sensibilities. I never understood, and still to this day don’t understand, why I was bounced around so much when I was growing up. I’m a Mother, I have four children of my own, and I couldn’t send even one of those children away to live with someone else when they were just a child with no understanding of life or how things should be in a family. But through it all I knew that my Mother, although she could be hard and cold and distant, loved me. And when I became an adult, I visited her as often as I could, making certain that she knew I loved her and needed her in my life.
I have four children, and I love each of them for being my children. But the are adults now and they make choices, or do things, that I don’t think is right. I don’t always like the people they have become, I don’t always agree with the choices they make or the things that they do. But I love them, each of them, with a love that I can’t begin to explain.
I am proud of my children, regardless of the things that they do that hurt me or that I disagree with.
I am proud of my oldest son for taking care of his family, for working hard even though he is on a different shift every week or two, and for loving his sons and being there for them. He is a good man, a good husband and most of all a good Father. I know he is busy, I know money is tight and he can’t afford to travel much, being the Father of three sons takes a lot of your time and most of your money. I can accept that, and although it hurts me to never get to see him or his wife or my precious grandsons, the pain is not a sharp, bitter pain, it is a pain accompanied with pride for the man he has become.
My oldest daughter has caused me some emotions that I can’t begin to explain. She is the oldest of them all and I fought to have and to keep her. Although she drives me crazy on more occasions than I care to admit, she holds a special place in my heart that none other could ever fill. And while I’m not always proud of the decisions she makes, I do try to understand why and accept that she is doing what she feels is the best. She is the Mother of four wonderful children and has made some decisions that I would never have made, but she is strong, she is beautiful and she is, at the core of it all, a good Mom. I am proud that she has left an abusive relationship after many years I just wish she could have done it differently. She causes me pain from time to time, but she is, in many ways, a woman that I admire and one that I like. I love her for being who she is, even if I don’t always agree with her. I would love to see her and the grand-kids, but life has taken that possibility from me for now.
My youngest daughter is, although she wouldn’t admit it, more like me than her siblings. She has a tender heart and, unfortunately, it shows more than it should. She’s not afraid to cry, although she gets angry with herself when she does, she works hard and she knows where she is going in life, or at least she has a general sense of the direction in which she is heading. She’s a junior in college and she’s planning on going on for a higher degree, perhaps even a doctorate. She’s tenacious, she’s funny, she has a sense of self that is unwavering. I am so proud of her and all that she is trying to accomplish. I miss seeing her; I wish that I had a way to go to her, or that her schedule allowed her to come home more often. But she works hard, she studies harder and she’s a very busy woman, but she calls when she can and she always makes me laugh. She and I share secrets that no one else is privy to, we will hear or see something that will make us laugh even though everyone else thinks we are crazy. She is my baby girl and, no matter how old she grows, how important she becomes, she will always be my Mouse and I will always think of her as the baby.
Then there is my youngest son. What can I say about him? Well, I’m proud of his talent, he’s a very talented songwriter and singer/musician. He makes a good living and he has a nice wife. He is the reason I woke up on a tear stained pillow. I won’t say anything more about him, because I’m angry and hurt and I don’t want to say something that I can never take back. I will say that I love him and he will always the little boy that sang “Barned in the USA” to the radio every time we went somewhere. I love him.
I realize that I am damaged. I realize that I have expectations that will never be fulfilled, a need for love that causes me to make mistakes that cause me pain and a too tender heart that gets damaged at even the tiniest slight. But I have a core of steel, a will to go on and a never-ending enthusiasm that gets me through even the toughest of times.
But there are days, days like today, when the darkness threatens to swallow me whole, leaving behind not a trace of the woman I try to be. Days like today I feel like the hollowed out shell of a Jack O’ Lantern sitting on a porch in October. It looks as it should, it will entertain you, it will keep you company with it’s warm glow on a cold Autumn night, but it’s empty and hollow inside. The smiling face and warm eyes are only an illusion, a fantasy spun from emptiness and the light from a candle that will soon burn out.
I am that Jack O Lantern, I am empty and hollow inside, there is nothing left. The light that used to be mine has been replaced with an artificial glow that I give to those that expect it. The smile isn’t real, nor is the light in the eyes. My season, like that of the Jack O Lantern, will pass too quickly and fade into memory.