Mother Courage

I’ve been through it all, baby, I’m mother courage.
Elizabeth Taylor

This quote reminds me of my mom.

We are not close, I haven’t set eyes on her in 9 years nor will I. We’re not good for each other.
She still needs a mom of her own and me, well, I don’t want to be that for her anymore.
To me, she’s a reminder of fear, instability and untreated mental illness.

To her, I’m a monument to her perceived failure as a mother.

I say her perceived failure because I don’t think she failed at it, I think her overwhelming guilt sunk her to the depths of anger and finally bitterness.

To say I haven’t seen her is kind of a fallacy, each time I speak or laugh or look at my own body, I see her.
She is in me, the good parts and the bad.

There are times when optimism and longing for a relationship makes me hope toward finding her, but I don’t think I could, even if I wanted to because I know the city she’s in and that’s it. She probably doesn’t have a phone let alone a computer.

As hard as I “think” I had it in my childhood, she grew up in a warzone where her life was constantly under threat; abuse, substance problems, loaded weapons all figured in her narrative. Her own mom was worried about survival and had no time to protect her own burgeoning brood.

As a young adult, she gave up her first born and was ostracised from her family, had two more kids and some time to think about her own trauma. As a counsellor now, I can see how PTSD was probably a factor and her own mental illness.

Thinking about starting my own family within the year makes me think of her more. My role models will be my aunt, my grandmother, my mother-in-law for certain. I hope some of the memories of our fun times together, and there were lots, will somewhere sink into the nurturing of my own children.

Universe, just give me a little of mother courage.