April 14th, 2008
I miss my mom.
On most days, I don’t miss her. In her most current incarnation, which has lasted for several years, she is hostile, obstreperous, nasty, cutting and just downright unpleasant to be around. During the last several years before she cut off contact, I lived on tenterhooks in her presence, afraid to do or say the wrong thing for fear of awakening the beast. Which apparently I finally did…
As much as I was angry and hurt by her curt refusal to speak to me then or ever again, after the dust settled, I realized that my life had followed suit by settling down too. I could breathe a bit easier. I didn’t have to mentally gird myself for her phone calls. I didn’t have to talk with a pretense of cheer and casual ease. I didn’t have to listen to stories of conspiracy and martyrdom, each with its own nucleus of truth that had been layered so many times over with imagined dangers that it was hard for me to tell where fact ended and fiction began. I didn’t have to wonder whether the things she whispered to Punskin were benign – quotes from Shakespeare, witticisms from Wodehouse, musings from her own mind – or more drama that I just didn’t want my child exposed to.
Life became simpler. I breathed.
But there are times when I miss her, not as she became, but as she was long ago – an incredibly smart, witty, learned woman. Of course even then she had failings, but who the hell doesn’t? They were manageable then, though.
Then they spiraled out of control.
I’m not sure why just now I got hit with a sudden yearning for her, as she was. I suppose every now and then I see or hear something that I know she would share a particular appreciation for, but nothing like that just happened. I just missed her, for no reason other than she is my mother. I miss the laughter, I miss what she could be sharing with my children, I miss – her. I just miss her – the old her.