Mother’s birthday is coming up so hopefully this exploration will turn into a tribute in some way. Though I have been independent for most of my life, I have always felt in some way connected to the umbilical cord. The physicality may be a distant non-memory, but its essence is ever present both in terms of the continuation of life and the explicit, intrinsic connection beyond physical. There is no argument, or perhaps plenty of argument, that that immaculate power source, the shared power source, radiates a spectrum of desires from absence to intensity. These fizz out into reality, first as opinions, then as beliefs and finally as outcomes – outcomes built from the sheer will to exist and make existence productive. Of course, they may disappear over time but they will always exist as they were “why”.
My first memory is [of me] sitting on a pram. Below me, I am told, was my new born sister. Though I have no memory of it; the time before, that is, I do remember thinking it was odd having to share the limelight. It is funny that I have no memory of my mother as a physical entity then. She was the loving force that propelled the pram but I, her two year old son, did not “see” her. The first time I remember seeing my mother was around age five. No doubt I saw her when I started seeing, but she did not register in my memories until I was five.
From my earliest thoughts I have never found a place to forgive wasps. They are as bad as the larger sized cockroaches I now regularly see in Sydney. Cockroaches, they tell me, are harmless. I learned that wasps are not. A regular lunchtime treat, in my infant years, was jam sandwiches. Raspberry or strawberry preserve, and occasionally black currant were the popular selections. But that fateful day, as a five year old neatly tucked into the kitchen table, flavours were of no consequence. While waving jam covered hands a wasp landed on my thumb. A natural consequence of a vented room on an unusually hot summer’s day. Until then, I had merely feared these tiger striped insects that angrily buzzed “we’re going to get you” at distance, or so I thought. Now, five years old and wedged into position at the kitchen table they, it, was here. My moment of truth, I was petrified. I was so petrified I could not move or, in other words, I did not just look like stone, I may as well have been stone. The wasp was not easily amused. It stung me on schedule and disappeared into distant memory as I cried. This is my first physical memory of my mother. On one hand she consoled me, the incoherent wailing child, as no other could. Then, once I had become lucid long after the fact, she told me off for being stupid.
Being stung was a proud lesson. First it taught me fear and being petrified is a great hindrance to resolution. Second it taught me if you can act, act now and do not lose a moment. Time has shown I am as stupid as I am gifted. If there was a qualification for stupidity I would be doctorate material. As the only way to learn is through mistakes, stupidity is a greater blessing than any gift. My mother never missed an opportunity to highlight my stupidity. In doing so she is more than a valid guide.
This is not to say that mothers are error free or beyond self-serving. Quite the reverse as all mothers are subjectively objective. She came from a place of wanting her best for me.
One of my great achievements was being able to read before I could walk. This was before any memories bubbled up into the repository I regularly draw on for perspective, but I believe it to be true. The only reason I did not write was my fingers were too small to hold a pen. It is important to say, this did not just happen. Sure, it was in me and found a way out, but most importantly I was guided by someone who could bring it out. That was my mother; the teacher. Without her constant coaxing I would not be what I am today. Teaching is not conveying information, but rather supporting the mechanisms and disciplines required for the impetus to do, while providing the necessary precautions to fend off stupidity.
Caring is not about the money or even any physical support. Those may be symptoms. Caring is. It cannot be faked, but it may encourage fakers offering false hope. At times even hatred might be a symptom of care. What of the stupid who are stupid and refuse to be anything other than stupid contrary to all advice, all initiatives and all experiences? Might not their carers hate as the only plausible resolution for unresolved stupidity? Might hate be the final sanctity? Would not one small transgression, one small victory over stupidity counter all that welled up bitterness, befuddlement and anger? Would not the hatred evaporate? Stupidity can never halt caring. The carer will care for ever for this is inherent.
A Mother blessed
Every mother is blessed whether good or bad, selfish or indiscriminate. However, how mothers treat their blessing determines who they are. If they are great, they will revere and will be revered. My mother is blessed.