Today would have been my mother's 69th birthday. When my mother passed away in 2001 it left me shattered in a way that took years to put myself back together. I literally spent a year in my house just figuring out what does life mean and how could life work in a world without my mother in it.
In 2003 and 2004 I found myself writing a book. An autobiography. I made my best effort to gather up all of my feeling about growing up with my mother, the last few years of taking care of my mother, and the devastation of loosing my mother and throw them all into the writing and then not dwell on how difficult it is not to have my mother around any more. You know, start living with what you do have and can do instead of remaining stuck on what you don't and can't.
I did well with that. Considering what the bond with my mother was like I would say I've done a job job of not allowing myself to be paralized by its absense. But now I have a child of my own. And every time I see other parents of young children just reach out to their own parents for help (or get help thrust upon them without even asking for it) I am forced back into that mentalspace, daydreaming about the infinite love my mom would have for my daughter and the limitless life lessons, the infinite patience, all of the qualities and gifts that my mother had to offer.
Barely perceptable in my childhood were my mom's gifts for removing obstacles. I was able to develop and flourish believing that many obstacles must not exist. The last ten years have been an exercise in learning not to just stand and marvel at the enormity of the obstacles that can exist in this world and set about to work chipping away at or toppling them.
I am extremely grateful that my daughter has two parents taking obstacles out of her way. A lot of qualities in my love person, Sophia, remind me of my mother. And of late I'm finding obstacles removed and stunned by not having had to remove them myself.
As of January 1st I have vision care. I have hope, for the first time in a long time, of getting new glasses and lenses. If anyone ever closely examined the pair of glasses that I have been stitching back together and squeezing more life out of for the last couple years they might get some small sense of what the prospect of new glasses means in my life. On nearly no income I have twice saved up multiple hundreds of dollars and deployed them in the pursuit of new lenses only to end up with no lenses and no money. The idea of Sophia having access to things like family vision plans and health spending accounts seems like "fantasy things" rather than real world things.
A few months from now I will even have health insurance. When the Health Insurance reform was a big news item, my natural reaction was "Oh great, another huge obstacle for me to have to fight." As a person with no income in a country that self-describes as FREE to anyone who will listen, the idea of mandatory purchases of any kind seems very counter-intuitive. So off I went trying to figure out what are the punishments going to be for not being able to afford to feed the health insurance corporations. And then suddenly there was Sophia telling me that all of us will just have health insurance.
You don't like fighting but your in a fight whether you like it or not. You're tired from the fighting but you still have to defend yourself. Fighting is constant. As you finish a fight you must ALWAYS be ready for the next fight. You must always be ready to be fighting on multiple fronts at any given time. Suddenly, you look up and the fight just isn't there. And you get to stop and rest for a minute. I almost don't know what to do with myself.
Health insurance, that's such a not real thing for everyone to be having all of this fuss over.
When it's all said and done the best I can do with the days ahead is summon those gifts of ease that my mother so graciously gave to me and pass them on to my daughter and then let her know where they came from as I am able. She contines a long life of truly remarkable women and I tremble to imagine what she will be able to achieve with her gifts.