Somewhere in Between

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” – Buffy Summers

I’ve spent a lifetime jumping through hoops. 

As a child, with my honor roll report cards, careful etiquette, and seclusion. 

As a teenager, with my high morals, my Christian band, my self-censorship. 

And as an adult, still playing the dutiful child, responsible mother, reliable worker.

I’m exhausted.

They say there are rewards for being compassionate and generous. I don’t know from that. Maybe it’s wrong to expect justification or appreciation. After all these years, expecting anything at all seems a bit fruitless. But I still hope. NOT for praise. I just want to be respected. I want to be understood.

Today, I went to visit my mom for Mother’s Day. I went with gifts, prepared to bust her out of the joint for the evening. But not long after I got there, I realized she was in no condition to go anywhere. So I offered to find a restaurant and buy us dinner, and then watch movies with her in her room while we ate. It was all I could really do. She’d almost fallen and I could barely keep her from hitting the floor… I couldn’t lift her up if she fell in a restaurant or movie theater. Still, she was irritated with me for not doing a better job at keeping her upright.

I’m assuming some recent changes to her medications are proving problematic. The ‘tremors’ as she refers to them, are really more like earthquakes. She dropped her food, knocked a cup of tea off her tray, in addition to other sudden spasms. And each time, my response wasn’t quick enough. Finally, I went for her nurse, to get some assistance for her. To that, she just snapped that I could at least stop to ‘help my own mother.’ I never did finish my dinner. Lost my appetite anyway.

The highlight was the end of the evening, as I told her I loved her, and her response was a very unenthusiastic, “I love you too, I guess.” In front of her nurse. Stellar.

Not the first time I was reminded in my adult life that I don’t measure up. She used to throw that at me, that this friend or that friend told her I was a bad daughter. Or when church folks would imply that my moms difficulties were Gods retribution against me for being such a sinner. She brags all the time about my brother, but he’s not the one doing her laundry, her grocery shopping, or taking her places. He didn’t let her live with him for 20 years so she wouldn’t be without a good home. He’s made of gold, though. For all the times I sat in the ER cause her blood sugar was through the roof, all the times I actually participated in her therapy sessions, he was never a part of any of that. Even as a child, when I would go with my dad to visit her in the penitentiary. Without my brother, because he refused to go. 

I love him, I do. But where was he today? Not helping her off the floor. Nope. That was all me.

I step back after this, and I look at where it’s all headed. I look at where it came from. And I’m an infinitesimal speck in all this. The difference I make is negligable. Not for lack of trying. I cannot keep going this way.

Not everyone is made for greatness. And if everyone was, then no one would ever truly be great. I am sub par, so others can shine. 

This is not to say I’m giving up. I don’t throw in towels. Fuck you if you think I’m easily broken. I’ve been through a lot of stuff that most will never be able to stand through, and I’m still here. And maybe, in that way, I am great. 

Maybe this is the cocoon. Maybe this will be transformative. 

Maybe this is where I cease to be, and she takes over.

God help you all. 

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2 Responses to “Somewhere in Between”

  1. Make believe worlds never really shape us up. We are who we are, and until that becomes clear, nothing else will ever be.

    • Absolutely. Of course, a little refuge from the harshness of reality is sometimes very much needed… as long as one always knows the difference.

      Thanks for your comment!

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