Sunday, May 9, 2010

mother's day.

My mom and I have a strange relationship, which is partially because my family is weird to each other in general. We don’t say I love you, we don’t hug, we don’t really show any kind of affection. On Mother’s Day, or her birthday, or an anniversary, I put a card on the kitchen table and sometimes a gift, and leave it at that.

Obviously I love my mother, but sometimes I don’t really actively feel it. Maybe that’s why I have a tough time understanding what love is supposed to feel like. In fact, my understanding of love suddenly makes a lot of sense – let me explain. My mom has always, always been there for me. I tell her everything, mostly because I like to talk about myself. In college, I’d usually call her every few days – sometimes even daily – to tell her what was going on. Like how I got an A on my test, or the latest drama going on, or how my interviews went.

Not only that, my mother is proactive in my life where I am not. This is great, in a way, but is mostly something that I feel has screwed me up thoroughly. A really good example was most of my college career – she looked up class and grade requirements, information about interviews, when certain deadlines were, and things like that. She was always three steps ahead of me, which was good only because I never had to do anything. The problem was that then she blamed me for not doing anything. In her mind, because she chose to be that person who looked three steps ahead, I should be there, too. And when I wasn’t, I was being irresponsible.

(I could go on more about that – and probably will, because it’s a big problem for me – but I’ll leave it there for now.)

My idea of loving and caring about someone is doing things for them. When I was in college, I gave small gifts to all of my friends for the holidays, even though I knew only my closest friends would be getting me a gift in return. As my cousin was getting ready for her freshman year of college (at the same school I attended), I spent days making lists and pouring out information she’d find useful. In my relationship, I made sacrifices at every turn without even realizing that’s what they were. Love, to me, was giving – I gave my time and efforts to helping my ex-boyfriend prepare for a presentation when he was emotionally broken over not getting a good score on the MCATs, I made numerous trips in a single week to help him study for the verbal section of the MCATs the second time around, and I was at his doorstep at school whenever he had a bad day.

In writing this, I’m starting to understand that I’ve become my mother in this aspect. She rarely says I love you and doesn’t show love affectionately – she shows it by doing things for me. Whether it’s being there when I need to talk or buying something for me when I don’t feel like going out to the store for it, she loves by giving. And I love by giving.

I dislike my mom for a lot of reasons and am usually not happy with living under the same roof with her. But there are reasons I love her, and the love outweighs the dislike. We watch TV shows together, ranting and raving about them, she lets me talk about whatever I want without interrupting, and we shop together and sometimes she’ll pick up the tab on something. She puts up with my brother and I being back at home again and still cooks dinner most nights.

So, no matter how awkward it is for me to say it, I love my mother. I’d probably be completely lost without her.

Happy Mother’s Day!