A Mother’s Day Reflection: The Flipside of The Day

Today is Mother’s Day.  There will be cards, flowers, candy, and special dinners for those mothers who are still alive.  Hugs and kisses and phone calls.

There will be moments of remembrances for those mothers who have faded from the earth. Perhaps at Sunday dinner a toast will be offered to the mother who meant so much to her children that they pause to remember and honour her.

For me and I am sure for others out there Mother’s Day is just another day loaded with memories which do not evoke joyous feelings or those warm moments.  My mother was emotionally distant.  She drank too much.  She smoked too much (3 packs a day).  Her sexual escapades were the talk of our small hamlet.

She lived in the past of some romanticized reality which always came to the surface when a bottle of cheap whiskey had been consumed.  For days we would have to endure the recitation down memory lane about her precious “Frank” and how much they were in love.  Of course, her precious “Frank” walked out of our lives and never returned, but that story is for Father’s Day.

When she got drunk, she was a mean drunk.  I remember when I was about seven she went into a rampage and began tossing dishes out the closed kitchen windows.  The children ran outside, but Uncle Jess who was visiting attempted to calm her down.  He got hit in the middle of the head with a heavy iron skillet and came staggering out the back door with blood running down his face.  A piece of glass struck Barb who was two years younger than me on the right leg which caused a lot of bleeding.

What I tend to remember about this incident and there were many such incidents is the blood on my uncle’s face and on Barb’s leg.  This was a childhood memory which should never be.

Our maternal grandmother was in many ways our real “mother.”  She took care of us children, cooked for us (made sure we ate our greens), washed for us,  encouraged us, comforted us and was always there.  She was the stable force in the family.

 If there was an award for mother sainthood our grandmother would have received it.  Her daughter was a major disappointment to her which brought her a lot of grief.

As you can see, Mother’s Day is not a day that I can appreciate or observe.  I eventually came to terms with the woman who gave me birth before she passed away.  However, I never viewed her as my mother, just an older sister perhaps with many problems and issues. She had a lot of potential which never surfaced during her life.

On reflection she was a lost traveller in search of meaning which always eluded her.  Her precious “Frank” was perhaps just a myth lost in the confusion of alcohol and nicotine and broken promises and dreams on the boulevard of her lonely life.

Perhaps, if there are alternate time lines or parallel planes of existence, she was a true mother and a contributing member to society.  I would like to think so for her sake. For me her existence was just sad, a waste of precious material for whatever reasons in this plane of existence.

Life on this planet traversing the cosmos is not always fair to children.  Children suffer many things at the hands of adults. 

If you are a mother, please love and care for your children.  It’s a legacy which they will cherish the rest of their lives after you have faded from the earth.  They will remember you and when you have departed this life with a toast and tears on Mother’s Day.

G. D. Williams       © 2011

Boulevard of Broken Dreams