The Lesson Mother Intended

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When I was young, I told the world how strong I was. Imagine a girl like me: a hundred pounds and a couple of decades. Maybe we are invincible in our youth, as I believed and felt.

I hitch-hiked. I took a Greyhound bus from Albuquerque to Philadelphia. And North Carolina. I rock climbed. Blindfolded. I camped. Alone. I fell in love. With ex-cons, gangbangers, and other women’s husbands.

My mother raised me on women’s rights and responsibilities. Basically, NEVER need a man; take care of yourself. Be strong and successful.

I thought I was and always would be. Without the need for a man. Maybe that’s why I chose so many I later discarded.

I couldn’t buy into the fairy tale. Because my mom told me and showed me it was a lie.

Later, she and her ideas appeared weak in the face of cancer and the kind of loneliness a daughter can’t cure.

After she passed over, it occurred to me she might do a few things differently given the opportunity.

My mom died needing and not receiving the closeness of a husband she managed a long-distance marriage with.

Maybe her first marriage to my father shattered something in her. She modeled what I later mirrored, trying out for the role of wife.

My mom and I each experienced how a man you love can grab you by the throat and kick you in the stomach simply by putting you second and practicing everyday nonchalance.

Or is that the story I tell for things I wish I could’ve done differently?

The decades have stacked to five and my mom’s been gone two.

Am I strong? Yes. Invincible? Not even close. That’s no longer the question.

I am loved. That was the lesson and the choice worth waiting for.

 

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