Is it an oversight that I can never quite remember my mother’s birthday? It’s somewhere in the realm of Thanksgiving. Some years it actually falls on that day. For as long as I can recall, I’ve never been able to recall the exact date. Nor do I know how old she is. I do know she is a Sagittarius, but only because she would mention it frequently. “I’m a Sagittarius, you know,” she would say. But I never asked what she meant by that, never followed up.
I’ve had doctors ask me, “How old is your mother?” Who knows why this is germane to my medical health.
I say, “I don’t know.”
I usually get blank stares before I hear, “Is she alive?”
“I presume so. I think someone will call me when she passes.” At this point I usually look them in the eye and wait them out to see where they go with this line of questioning. Most get the message and move on.
It certainly has not been an oversight that I’ve rarely written about my mother. It’s the great mystery of my life, my mother. In most instances in my life I am forever curious, with the notable exception of my mother. There’s a wall there because I do not want to know. I do not want to understand. It is so unlike me. I want to understand most things in life, okay, perhaps not calculus. But, if we are talking about crimes, wars, and a complicated legal decision, I’m game. The one exception is my mother.
It stumps me because in many ways I believe I’m empathetic, and I seek to understand others. Perhaps not?
A few years ago a writing teacher told me that my writing would get better when I start to write about my mother. What?! Why is that the key to writing better? Oy. Let it not be so. Alas, though, I think it may be true.
Many years ago I thought I kept forgetting to call my mother back, an oversight, if you will. But, as the days turned into weeks I realized it was not an oversight. I simply did not want to talk to her. But I could not tell anyone why. I didn’t even know why. I just knew I did not want to speak to her anymore. I found my first therapist because of this. When I walked into her office she asked, “How can I help you?” And I said, “I can’t call my mother back, and I don’t know why.”
There are periods of time I cannot recall from childhood, swaths of time. All I’m left with are feelings, and these feelings get misidentified as oversights when, in fact, they are indicative of my true desires.
Today’s post is written in response to Today’s Daily Prompt.