Whither Mother’s Day?

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May 13, 2015 by unclespike218

Being a gay man puts you into some interesting situations vis-à-vis family from time to time.

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that, more commonly than in the general population, causes consternation. (Same goes for Father’s Day.) It’s a day to celebrate your mother and the work and sacrifices she gives for the good of the family. Ideally, and I’d like to believe that a majority of the time, it is a holiday suffused with love, gratitude, and happiness, with a minimum of enmity or bitterness. Sadly, though, this is not the case amongst me and many of my gay brothers, for reasons that are probably quite obvious…and for reasons that I may not know either.

Interspersed amongst the well-wishes to moms on Sunday was a smattering of cris du coeur, like an online card that said “Happy Mother’s Day to the one person who was never there for me. Nah, screw it.” Or a friend who grew up in the foster care system whose foster mom told him he was less than their real children, or that he was going to grow up unwanted and unloved because he was a glutton and a faggot. Somehow, he was able to end his tirade with a wish for love for his mom(s) and a plea for others to hold on tightly to theirs.

What sucks is that these are not the words of immature brats, but rather grown-up men who have the luxury of time, distance, and meditation on their relationships with their mothers. I bring this up because I can relate. My mom was quite awesome in her own way; she was enthusiastic, loving, a great cook, happy, and always pushed her children to greatness. We never lacked for things to do or activities to be involved in. What I noticed more as the years went by and my “otherness” became more apparent to myself and to my parents (and not just in the sense of being adopted) was that my mother distinctly lacked compassion for anything that deviated from her small world view. I remember a phone conversation in college in which I called my mom hoping for a shoulder to cry on for some major emotional injury I had received, and instead got a cold exhortation to just buck up and deal. The more I pleaded my case, the less she was willing to give, until I finally had to shock her into reality by saying, “I should know by now not to expect compassion from you.” No son should have to utter these words to his mom. And more to the point, compassion should be so innate to moms that no mom should have to hear them. But reality has different plans, I guess.

Even last night, when I brought up how badly Keppra fucked up my brain, and she acknowledged seeing me out of it a month ago, she still looked as though she did not know how to handle one of her children being legally drugged up. She didn’t know how to ask questions about it, or to sympathize. She quickly turned the conversation (initiated by one of her BFFs) to a discussion she could handle: the issue of her niece’s red hair and eyebrow-plucking habits.

Oh well. At this point in life, it becomes a question of whether you are able to forgive your mom (and really, your parents) for being human, for doing the best they can and still falling short…and in some cases, intentionally falling short to spite and injure you. It’s entirely within human nature to look at something weak, to be insulted by it, deem it unworthy of care, and to intentionally try to destroy it. Forgiveness, I think, means taking into consideration the fullest extent of someone else’s fault. And maybe that’s why forgiveness is occasionally so difficult for me: I have a hard time believing that my parents could be so harsh, cold, and callous.

So. Now I sit and wait until Father’s Day. Considering the actions of the past six months, Mother’s Day will have been a cakewalk in comparison.

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