"Happy Mother's Day"

11/05/2008


I was surprised and flattered that both my in-laws called us to wish us a happy mother's day. I guess that means that we're really in the club as far as motherhood is concerned.

In Antwerp, for some strange reason, Mother's Day is traditionally celebrated on 15 August. The Virgin Mary is Antwerp's patron saint (hence the Cathedral of Our Lady, which is rather pretty).

Since my father died in 1997, my relationship with my mother has oscillated between distant and close. In recent months, she has kept her distance, which somewhat pains me, because I would like our child to have at least one grandparent with an active presence (distance prevents the other two from being able to do so).

I remember my childhood as a happy one, but I was always closer to my father, while my sister was the apple of my mother's eye. I don't think my mother has ever forgiven me for announcing that I was gay (I don't see how else I could have made her aware of this fact). Needless to say not much has changed, and this pattern is perpetuated in the fact that my mother pays a lot of attention to my sister's daughter.

And yet there are good moments too: my mother laughs, but sometimes we can tease her so mercilessly that she literally whoops with laughter, tears running down her cheeks, holding her sides for the stitches. Or the day she stepped out of the glider (her birthday gift was a ride in one: she's obsessed with airborne stuff, hot air balloons, helicopters, etc.), giving a great thumbs up, smiling like a Cheshire cat, even though she managed to break her breastbone due to the weight of the parachute. Or even the day we picked her up from the airport after her holiday in Cuba, which had done her a world of good. Or, more poignantly, the day I visited her in hospital 24 hours after her brain haemorrhage, and she still managed to smile encouragingly in spite of the fact that she was half paralysed.

Mother-daughter relationships are a complex but interesting matter: imperfections colour our characters. They are what make us human at the end of the day. And in spite of all the deep waters that we have swam through and that we will undoubtedly have to cover in the future, we have always made it to the other side safe and sound. And I know that the same will apply over time, as my daughter and I explore and define our relationship.

So here's to motherhood. I wouldn't have it any other way.

--The white lilacs are in honour of my mum: her favourite flower.

4 messages:

Fresco said...

1)I LOVE lilacs! In fact, there's one sitting in a vase next to my laptop so I'm getting high on the smell as we speak.
2) I LOVED your no. 2 place you've been. I've been there as a child and I was mesmerized by it. The cave and the boat - all things queer.
3) Posting a picture of yourself? Who does such things... Really... :-)

Lula de Montes said...

@Fresco: I believe that you will have to make me Grand-Duchess Fresco since we have so much in common. :p

Seriously: I'm in a quandary about this photo thing.

luscious said...

the thing I found most difficult was coming to terms with the differences between my mom and me: we used to do everything together, liked the exact same things but as I grew up and became my own individual (like you, gay, with ideas that were nothing like hers, etc.) she also changed a lot and we both had great difficulty accepting that. while I love my mom dearly, it's a rollercoaster from time to time but I enjoy the ride no matter what!

deboo said...

Faboo picture of the lilacs, my favorite flower, next to starburst roses.

Moms and daughters - such a force of nature, no? We're plagued by our Mothers, and we plague our daughters. The bond stretches and pulls and comes back again.

I'm always trying to figure it out...

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