I sometimes enjoy reading posts written by women in their mature years. It allows me to take a little glimpse into their minds, see what’s important to them, what irks them and what makes them happy. I enjoy their commentary on the youth of today, and what they have to say about the modern world. I indulge in their words, using what I’ve gathered to paint a picture of my own mother, fantasizing on what she could have been like.
I don’t particularly like my mother, maybe I detest her a little. I’d like to think I don’t feel too much towards her, but I do feel something, and I don’t think this feeling that the grown up me feels is anything of what a child is supposed to feel towards her mother. I don’t think I adore my mother, though as a young child, she was my hero, the love of my life.
My memories of her were shaped by the beautiful stories people told me of how she helped them through their life. Hearing about her kindness and sacrifices she made for these people who are nowhere present in my life today was something I was proud of. Then, I grew up, and I realized, I barely have memories of her that is mine, ours.
Yes, she was there now and then, bought beautiful gifts, and called once in a blue moon, but I think that’s something you’d expect from a distant aunt, not a mother.
I spent most of my childhood with my gran, while my mother was hustling in Johannesburg for I’m quite sure not herself and her daughter. If I was lucky, I would get to see her once a year. Sometimes she would call, lift my spirits with her empty promises of going to her place for holiday, or moving in with her soon, then she would fall of the grid again. Damn, I was a dreamy naïve child.
She was never there to witness any of the accomplishments I made, for all I know, she probably wasn’t even there to watch me take my first steps. She chose to not be in my life.
Now, me being around the age she was when she had me, all these incredible stories about her are thorns in my side, they are reminders of how she willingly chose to prioritize Tom Dick and Harry over the flesh and blood she birthed, and claimed to have loved. Me being her greatest blessing? Probably the biggest lie she has ever told me.
To others, she may have been a wonderful person, to me, she is just an empty shell of a failure of a parent, someone I don’t know.
The good thing is, she left when I was nine. According to the opinions of others, maybe a good soul like her left for her rightful seat in heaven, I don’t know, do people who abandon their children go to hell? The good news is, she left early enough to not fuck up anymore. If she wasn’t there when I needed her the most as a toddler, a young child, I doubt she’d have ever been there. Though, still, now a dreamy old child, I can’t help but wonder, what if?
What if she survived herself, and she was here today, what could she have been like?
Her passion for reading surpassed all of those I’ve ever known to throw themselves between the pages of their favourite authors, so by now, could she have written a book or two of her own? Or, would she have turned to blogging?
If so, maybe she’d right about how much of trouble her troubled daughter causes her, or perhaps she’d share a few cooking recipes.
She could get all philosophical and reflect on her previous decisions, sure not the ones relating to us, but rather her bad choices in men, and how she overcame the scars of her past.
I know what my mother could have been like towards others, but I don’t know, what she could have been like towards me, in our own little home, together, as a family.
In the end, is it possible to love someone you never really knew? Or to believe someone’s claim of love to you, when they were never really there to know you?