She resented me because of my personal orientation. She has rejected me because of it, since "The Public Scene of 1987". Imagine, can you, that the one that gave you life, said some horrendous things, on your 21st birthday, such as "I wish you were never born." #BUZZKILL! But today seems to have, finally, made it all right.
It was today, that she said "I love you", and for the first time that I can ever recall. Someone once said, "You're only as sick, as your secrets!"
A long time ago, I decided I was tired of being "sick". It was the very best decision I could have made.
It's my birthday month, I celebrate each blessing of each day of the month! And today, the biggest day, is no exception! My birthday month ends at midnight.
I, just this morning, concluded a phone call with my estranged mother that lasted an hour an forty-nine minutes!
She called to wish me a happy... and to confirm an address to which to send a check, and a letter. You could have knocked me over with a whisper.
So... with this blog post, I recognize this, long-awaited, gift. The most important of all. It appears I've got my mother back. I've learned some things.
"I've made mistakes, I may have not been the perfect mother, but I always did my damnedest to try to be. Or I think I did. I've never been more proud of anything than being your mother. You are a remarkable, beautiful, man, and I am very proud of you, and the man you've become. You always, even when I'm angry with you, treat me with beauty, and respect. I am more grateful for that, than you can ever imagine. Thank you. I'm PROUD to be your Mom. Forgive me."
-My mother, today.
My mother and I have had a lengthy, painful, wretched, unfortunate, relationship since my 12th birthday. It is at that time that she was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. On 21st birthday, she then humiliated, and disowned me in the public rotunda (PENN STATION, NYC: Main Concourse--- Evening Rush Hour)--- (Think "VERONICA" on @Tyler Perry's, "The Haves and the Have Nots". I never made that connection until this very moment. Veronica's treatment of Jeffrey when he came out, rivals that treatment I got from my mother that day. Except I never came out about anything. I didn't need to ("The Public Scene of 1987"). She simply, and suddenly, attacked--- all guns blazing.
That night, following the brief, shockingly loud (that felt like a movie slow-mo of eternal length) "scene", she commanded me to push her, in her wheelchair, the twenty blocks from 34th St. to 54th to attend the Leggs' Mini Marathon Racer's Afterparty at Studio 54. She had run the marathon as a wheelchair racer.
I'm sure her arms were tired and sore!
Pushing. In New York City. In June! Dressed to the nines, and wearing dress shoes! I turned 21 that night. I had a fucking invite to "54"! For my twenty-first... I wasn't gonna PUSH!?!?!?
Since that time, I've told her, repeatedly, that "all I wanted was my mother back". She flatly rejected the requests, on their face... (because of whom, and how, i loved). I can't really blame her though! My stepdad was some major, high-muckety-muck administrator of a MASSIVE, yet existent, religious order, and SHE, his "First Lady"! They were very high profile, "salt-of-the-Earth" types, and had to keep up appearances. Until he cheated on her. #wholeothertalkshow!
Whether her abandonment and rejection of me was religiously based, or rooted in her deep, palpable, hatred of who I had become, only SHE knows for sure. She punished me for not being who she NEEDED me to be in order to feel complete, and not a failure, within herself. It is safe, and practicable to presume that it was, most likely, a bit of both!
She despised, and reviled me, her seed, for not being the "golden child" that my stepdad, and the congregation insisted upon. I, therefore, was their eternal stain! ME? A stain? At the age of 7? They bloody well knew what the hell they had in me, from the age of six! I certainly did.
Fast forward... year upon year, I pleaded for her to return to the role of mother in my life--- which abruptly ended at the age of 12. Year upon year, she flatly, HARSHLY, sadistically, refused. Up until that point, however, I am most grateful for her endowing me with the very finest, lavish, life. I had my own Mother "MAME"!
It is she, who forced me to perfect my vocabulary early on. She demanded it. She, who taught me, even with five forks at my place setting, which fork to use for which course (even the fish, and Escargot ones). She who taught me to never hold a vin blanc glass by the bowl, because the heat of the hand warmed the cold, crisp, pour. All my social graces, came from "Social Grace"!
As for my Stepfather, in the late 1960s/1970s, my stepdad was a, summa cum laude, Masters graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, in international business. He was an international commodities broker (oil, gold, minerals). He was a Rhodes scholar, a Diplomat, linguist, and got another Masters from Columbia, in Middle Eastern studies. I watched him whenever he was around. He may have loved my mother, as his educated, self-sufficient, trophy wife. I feel that to him, I was merely incidental, interference, and a collateral obstacle. He never spoke to me. Not. Ever. Okay, maybe once, on my 7th birthday. He worked, a lot.
I still try to keep up with Princeton's goings on. I took an online sociology course recently. I'm called a "legacy kid". That means because he's an Alumnus, i have Ivy privileges (or special admissions consideration, in conjunction with my academic worthiness) with the universities. Maybe that helps explain who/how i am, the life I've lead... to some extent?
Fast forward: Two years ago, I heard her leaving a message on the house answerphone, and heard her shrieking and moaning in pain. I walked from my section of the house to my Grandmother's, where the machine was, and interrupted the message my Mom was leaving for her. I asked what the matter was. She described the pain, yelping all along. I was in Louisiana. She was in her apartment on Central Park. Having some medical training, I concluded that this was likely an incident of severe rebound headaches, and a possible oncoming stroke. The woman with whom I had no relationship, set aside her hatred, and considered my advice. I told her that I was calling an ambulance right now, and that she should get her wheelchair to the door so that the EMT's could take her without delay.
My "Mother", being as she is... finally acquiesced... saying: "FINE! I'll let you call them. But give me thirty minutes to get my face on, and to pull myself together." Do you have ANY IDEA how difficult it is to get a NYC 911 operator to take you SERIOUSLY, and RESPOND with a DISPATCH--- FROM LOUISIANA!?!?!?!? It worked. Which leads me to today.
Today my "mother" thanked me, and credited me with saving her life that day, two years ago. I said that she was most welcome, but, that she had saved her OWN life, by choosing to comply with the loving advice. She insisted that it was my doing, and that I deserved the credit entirely. I caved--- or let her THINK I had.
During this call, she reminded me, in a more lucid moment, that we used to have GREAT FUN together! Before the sexuality thing surfaced. We reminded each other of shared good times: The first time she took me to Sardi's.
"We were in the vicinity and it was soon lunchtime". She said: "Well it was only the right thing to do! I was hungry. You were hungry... Sardi's was right there... they were always so nice to me, so I thought you were now old enough to appreciate it. So we went in. You were a perfect child. Not a problem in the slightest. It's what a mother DOES!!!! The child is hungry! You FEED it!"
ME: "Yes, Mother. I think that's what you do... feed the child. I've HEARD that, if you DON'T, they tend to die." [HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER from her]
SHE: "YEAAAAH! I think you're right! So I MUST have been an okay mother! You LIVED!" [HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER from ME]
We continued to reminisce about what I now perceive to have been my GOLDEN, gorgeous, years with her. She reminded me of the time she flew us to Walt Disney World for a holiday, and the opening of EPCOT Center.
We got hungry, so we made a beeline for the French Pavillion for a bite. It was "Les Chefs de France" for lunch. She said, and I remember it: "The waiter came over, and with the most atrocious, hellish, TEXAN accent, attempted to speak (a rather excruciatingly lengthy phrase) to us in French, and we BOTH BUSTED OUT LAUGHING!!"
Imagine hearing this, with an East-Texas-SLATHERED "FRENCH" ACCENT: "BONEJOOR, y'all! WEKKOM ta DINNEY WORR'! VOO y'all DESIREAY oon BWASSON to Start-eh-voo?"
In retrospect, it was inexcusably RUDE! -------But not more rude than BUTCHERING la langue Française, s'il vous plaît!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It MUST have been the HEAT!
Neither of us said a WORD... we simply made eye contact and ERUPTED in, fairly uncontrollable, laughter. The man was only trying to do his JOB! We didn't apologize at the time. I think we were too embarrassed, and horrified, by our lack of compassion, and politeness. We (SHE) tipped him WELL though. "Always make amends", she always said.
ANNNNNNNNNNYWAY... my birthday began with me calling the woman who gave me life, despite the fact that she rejected, and disowned me like the hot and cold tap--- repeatedly, and unexpectedly--- following a few months of "normal". I OWED her, at least, that. I realize that I'd have no life at all, were it not for her. It was the very least I could do.
She then asked me if I wanted to hear the letter she had intended to send for my birthday this year, but hadn't put in the mail. I said yes, instantly. IN it, she said things like: "I've made mistakes, I may have not been the perfect mother, but I always did my damnedest to try to be, I've never been more proud of anything as being your mother. You are a remarkable, beautiful, man, and I am very proud of you, and the man you've become. You always, even when I'm angry with you, or treat you horribly, you always treat me with beauty, and respect. I am more grateful for that than you can ever imagine. Thank you. I'm PROUD to be your Mom. Forgive me."
Then Mom, who is also multilingual, closed with "Feliz cumpleaños a mi hijo querido! Usted es el mejor que he hecho en toda mi vida." It translates to "Happy birthday, my dearest son. You are the best thing I've done in my entire life."
So at the end of the day, through Birth, Pain, Forgiveness, and Redemption, there also comes closure, affirmation, vindication, and understanding. I had "forgiven" her back on the time within a year after PENN STATION. I am now, however, ready to let it all GO!
No matter what has transpired, despite the gruesome, wrenching, agony of being discarded for something immutable, and beyond the scope of my power... she is, after all, the only mother I'll ever have.
- That people, even, and especially, the ones you love most, are flawed. Sometimes they are flawed beyond their own reckoning, and truly believe that they are unimpeachably correct.
- Few people are unimpeachably correct, all the time. And there is no such thing as a "perfect" life.
- When you know better, you DO better. Evidently some people know better.
- Even a mercurial relationship with a parent, in my view, while far from ideal, may in fact beat a non-existent one.
- I didn't know that I had any form of her love, for most of my life. Therefore, I learned my value, and learned to respect, and love, myself--- since her love was unavailable.
- People make ghastly, inconceivable, toxic, mistakes.
- Good people make attempts to forgive that frailty in others.
- A relationship with one's mother isn't mandatory... but, when it's whole, or on the mend... it feels marvelous.
- It is not noble to endure abuse, mistreatment, lack of care, lack of respect, lies, games, or any form of merda... EVER. Love, or lack thereof, is probably supposed to hurt. It is never, however, supposed to be torture. If it is torture, it is proper, and suitable, to protect yourself, or remove yourself, for as long as it requires.
- Never give up hope that the GINORMOUS epiphany some people may need could come! It may not come when we WANT it. However, sometimes it does arrive. One just needs to keep changing the bandages until the wound heals.
So, in the final analysis. I am blessed with the inspiration to feel fortunate, compassionate, and blessed, even at this late stage, that my mother has elected to extend an olive branch of her own. 38 years later. It was VERY hard for her to do.
She has given me, today, even if only temporarily, everything I ever asked for all my life... Someone I could point to in public, or an event, or in the living room, and call "Mom", and they'd, FINALLY, respond. For what more could I possibly ask?
Forgiveness, I granted her long ago. My healing began at 8:49 this morning.
"HEY, MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I love you too! I never stopped."
#healing #closure #patience #understanding #peace #strength #love #welcomebacktolove #mothersandsons #miracles #keepingitauthentic