Those who have known me for a while know I had some rough times relating to my mom over the course of my youth. Her being bipolar has had a lot to do with that, and reality is – we all have some form of dysfunction in our lives. None of us are perfect. Yet, if you’ve known me more than a week, you also know I often tell people I’ve had a pretty amazing life, my childhood was pretty legit, and I am pretty proud of the person I have grown up to be. (Okay, so I am still pretty immature, but that’s besides the point.)
I am currently in the ICU ward of a Southern California hospital, my mother having been moved back here a few hours ago. Right now she’s resting well, is under wonderful care, though due to that care it is difficult for her to communicate with us. She has a face mask on and it’s pretty much impossible to hear anything she has to say. Add that her voice is still recovering from the breathing tube that was only removed a few days ago, and well……the only real thing we can understand is her nodding yes or no. Yet her eyes are so expressive, I could sit hours just gazing into them, reassuring her of my love, that she’s been a wonderful mother, that she’s doing a great job, and the like. But, as she rests I thought I’d write some thoughts, as that is my therapy as I fight to stay strong but would rather fall in a messy heap and sob my heart out.
So, whether or not I struggled with my mom, no matter if there were times when I was not sure I could deal with her…….every negative thing I might have easily conjured up in the past lays silent as my mind and heart are overwhelmed with love and appreciation for her.
When I was about 6, my mom and I went grocery shopping. I am not sure but I think we had guests; maybe my Grandma Minard was visiting or maybe it was someone else. But we were there and we were buying items. At the checkout I asked for a candy bar, which I usually didn’t do and by the way…..we hardly EVER had candy on the regular. That was for special occasions. Anyway, my mom said yes and I was shocked, EXCITED even! But then I remember her getting really upset (not at me) and things being moved around and my mom acting weird. But I didn’t understand it at all though I sure did enjoy that Snickers! Come to find out later, as my Dad pulled me aside, and asked me to not ask for candy again. He explained that my mom didn’t have enough cash for all the things we had to buy and that it was hard when she had to put things back. I didn’t appreciate that as much when I was six, but as an adult who once upon a time had similar situations occur, I have to give my mom props for saying YES to the candy, and then letting me keep it even though she had to put back groceries. I am sure the candy bar was not the tipping point, but you get what I am saying.
I was in a musical in kindergarten – I played the triangle BOOM – and my mother told me she would not be able to attend. I was sad, because even back then I was extroverted and wanted nothing more than for my mom to see me rock the triangle. I will always, ALWAYS remember the moment I hit the side of the instrument, looked up, and there was my mom standing in the back row!!!!!! That filled my heart with happiness..
I have more to share, and I expect to do so in the coming days, but the truth of the matter is this – my mom did the very best she could. While she may have made mistakes or regretting doing (or not doing) some things, that doesn’t matter. And when I sat with her yesterday, all she could do was struggle to get the words formed in her mind and tell me what was heavy on her heart. She didn’t let her confusion or her recovering vocal cords or her health get in her way.
Mom: you are well liked
Gina: thanks mom
Mom: no, no (pause as she thought of the words) you are well loved
Gina: awwww mom, thank you I love you too
Mom: that’s it. I love you. I love you. I love you.
And that, my friends, is all that really matters. Love, and knowing when to share it. And really, it should be shared always.