27 October 2009

Our Mothers, Their Daughters

Today I talked with Marilynne. She may be the first friend I've made in my "new" life.

Her daughter underwent the surgery on the same day I had mine. But the daughter's was far more complicated than mine, as she was born with a condition that only a handful of people on the planet have. So, her recovery is also more complicated and lengthier than mine.

Of course I would love to see them again, and soon. However, they're going to Marilynne's parents' for Thanksgiving. It's probably just as well, for Mom and Dad have been talking about coming up this way from Florida. They'd hoped to move here--or, somewhere in this area--by the holidays, but it doesn't look like things are going to work that way. They've had no takers for their house, which isn't surprising. After all, Florida is one of the worst real estate markets in one of the worst economies this country has had in a long time.

Back to them. Sometimes I wonder what, if anything, they'd say to Marilynne and her husband, or vice versa, were they to meet. Mom always says I wasn't such a difficult kid to raise. I don't think she's merely being diplomatic, even though I don't think I could have been such an easy kid to care for.

I'm thinking now of a corollary to something Marilynne said: "As a mother, you always feel guilty." That was her response to my comment that she needed to be more generous with herself and to feel more confident that she's doing everything humanly possible to take care of her daughter and everyone else around her. At the end of the day, she simply has no time or energy to take care of herself. And if she had either, she'd find some other need someone else has and address that.

My mom is like that, too. It's not hard to imagine her saying what Marilynne said. And that's exactly the reason why it makes perfect sense, at least to me, that she would say I wasn't such a difficult kid to raise. Why would she, Marilynne or any other mother feel guilty? They would always know--or at least feel--that something else needed doing, but possibly couldn't be done. That means, of course, that no matter what they have to do, or are doing, they've done or are doing something else that's more difficult. And, chances are that something still more difficult will present itself. So, most things will only seem but so difficult in comparison.

Marilynne says that her daughter really isn't such a difficult kid. "She never wants anything," she says. But that's because "all she ever wanted was to be a girl." I always wanted the same thing, even more than anything else--even life itself. However, as I've mentioned before, I didn't express it because I'd never heard such a thing expressed when I was a kid. Plus, I don't think I was (or am) quite as intelligent as Marilynne's daughter.

But Mom would probably tell you I didn't want that much, either. That was true enough. And, she'll always point out that I never got into trouble (mainly because I never got caught! ;-) ) and that her friends always liked me. Yes, and I liked them, even more than my own peers.

And now I find myself making friends with women of, or over, a certain age--and I happen to be one of them myself!

One thing I know: Mom has been a saint and Dad has been much better than I ever anticipated. I'll bet that Marilynne's daughter will say, if she hasn't already said, the same thing about her mother and father. And her brother has been supportive. As far as I'm concerned, they're a family of heroes. At least, they're heroes of mine, anyway.

At least I expect to see Mom and Dad soon. Marilynne had talked about coming up this way with her daughter this fall, but I think that turned out to be a less realistic idea than any of us had anticipated. Her daughter, like me, is still healing and regaining her energy. Marilynne, I think, needs to do the same.

We're talking now about Spring Break, or possibly the days just after Christmas or New Year's.