WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.

SO LONG, FAREWELL...

The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mother, May I?

While there are a few disadvantages to living at home (the lack of privacy for instance), there are some advantages. One of them has been being able to see my mother as a real, live person. Now, I had been thrown out the notion that my mother is perfect. I mean as we grow up, move out the house (and sometimes back in), travel the world, make new friends, become adults, we really start seeing our parents for who they really are, their distinct personalities, idiosyncrasies, faults, strengths and weaknesses. But now that she is done rearing me and laying down the law, we have truly formed a friendship. I am constantly learning new things about my mother and the life she led before children.

Now I’m not saying that my mother was a wild child, but she did have some fun (and not so fun) experiences. And when she shares these things with me, I wonder why she didn’t tell me sooner. I think the mother/daughter relationship is one of the most fascinating because here is this person, this “mini me”, you can put all your hopes, dreams, and missed opportunities into. Someone you work hard to ensure does things better than you did them, avoids the mistakes you made, doesn't endure the trying times you did. However, to do this, mothers who oftentimes know the landmines and pitfalls of life through first hand experience, in an effort to protect their image, give their daughters blanket lessons. Keep your legs closed. Don’t do drugs. You bet not get pregnant. Finish school. Don’t drink and drive. Come straight home. Don’t go down the hill to that neighborhood. Don’t hang with those people. Don’t date that n****a.

I know that mothers have to walk that fine line of rearing a child by example and revealing who they really are to their children. Do you reveal to your child that you used to smoke weed, only to have it thrown back in your face when they try it? Do you tell them about your “first time” or tell them to wait until they’re married? Do you tell them about that abortion you had as a teen? I mean I don’t know how I would have handled hearing some stories about my mother while I was a teen. How would knowing that even my mother made mistakes have affected the decisions I made, the way secrets I kept, the lies I told, the life I tried to lead because I didn't want to disappoint? While I grew up in a house where my mother was very open with her children, where she spoke frankly about all topics, including sex, she rarely interjected herself into these stories. Growing up I saw my mom as someone who had never done wrong, never made poor decisions, never dated men other than my daddy. Of course over time I learned this was false.

And so there are times when I do wish that when I was younger she would have opened up more about her life. Maybe I would have come to her with a whole ‘nother set of questions. And I wonder if I ever have children (especially daughters) what I will share with them. Once when I was going through my photos and I saw one of me in a shirt that revealed plenty of cleavage, I said to my mother, “What will I tell my kids when they see this?” And she said, “Tell them, ‘I was going out to look for your father.” Ha!

But seriously. What would I tell my kids about my life and what would I edit? Would I tell them about me having an older boyfriend when I was in high school? That I got a tattoo at the age of 17? That I had a fake id and snuck into nightclubs? That I drank before the age of 21?!? Or will that seem like a whole 'nother lifetime, not worth sharing or mentioning? Will I reveal my past to them or play it close to my chest? So that they never know the before kids me, and think that I just came into the world as an unhip, uncool mom who never lived and then when they try to put something over on me I can be all, “You must not know ‘bout me…” Regardless of if I try to mold myself into “perfect” parent, my mom is already talking about, “Wait til you have kids. I'ma let 'em know...” So I know that she will be somewhere in the background telling my kids how I really got down. Dang, those witnesses!

But for real, readers of the 5 spot, what do you wish you knew about yo’ mama and what do you wish yo’ mama had told you ‘bout herself while you were growing up?

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

3 comments:

Ms. Cali Brwn said...

I grew up thinking my mother was a saint ... that she could do no wrong ... was never tempted or placed in harms ways ... and as a child this created a fear in me... I often chose lying over truth because I didnt want her thinking this is no child of mine ...

As I have grown older I realize how fragile and strong she is all in one ... I hear stories now... that relatives allow to slip to me because Im older... and I remember some of them as a child... but was to naive to realize that was going on ... not all are nice... and some infuriate me ...

and I realize that my parents mother chose to shield me because those were issues and things that a young child should not necessarily need to carry on their shoulders ... in my teenage years I wish she had been more open about EVERYTHING... as opposed to the standard pray about it and read your bible ... while the Lord works in mysterious ways ... instant gratification was the stuff of my teen years ...

but then I think perhaps that was her legacy to me ...not perfection ...but grace... that oh so impenetrable grace under fire ...

as the years progress both she and my father open up more and more ... and I think I am fine with the rate at which it progresses ... because I am not sure I could handle it all in one chunk ...

what will I do with my children... my hope is to be as open as open can be... but looking foward and wondering can always be deceiving ... who knows how Ill react in the moment ... when I then have someone else life to guard, protect, and nourish ...

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

all i say u will never know until u have kids, the worse thing for me is folk who domnt have kids telling me as a parent how i should raise them, like white folks telling me i know what it is like to be black - so we should catch ourselves - u may get advice from fools (folks wo kids)

Tela said...

I wish my Mama would've told me about her first fiance BEFORE my Daddy. Sounds like he was a winner, but unfortunately I just had to piece together info from her college yearbook autographs talking about the "ice" on her finger....interesting? Yes, interesting indeed.