My mother is an inspiration to me and often, when I feel overwhelmed with the raising of people, I talk to her and she will help me put things in perspective. She has lived her life trying to be a good mother, and made sacrifices every day for her children. She sacrificed ambition for a career, she sacrificed society, as we lived in the country and often only had one operational car at a time. She always bought for us, before she bought for herself. I can't ever remember her asking anything of me, and I'm sure I didn't offer.
It wasn't until I had my own girls and became a stay at home parent that I began to appreciate the life she lived raising us, a life in service to the needs of others. It was a gift that every day when I came home from school she was there to ask me how my day was, and I've alwyas been grateful, but most days my response was "Fine" and I'd head upstairs to my room. I never asked her how her day was. I never asked if she was lonely during the long hours in our isolated house. I never asked how she kept from gaining a hundred pounds thinking about what to feed everybody all the time. I took her for granted. I still do.
What will my children remember about me when they are grown, will they remember how I sometimes yell? Will they remember how often I have to apologize for being ugly? Will they remember that I helped them with their homework, will they remember all the meals I tried to put together with varying degrees of success? Will they remember how much their dad and I love each other and how seldom we argue? Will they remember him holding my hand while we are driving in the car?
Motherhood is complex. It's something I've thought a lot about and if you've read my books, Intoxic, Purgus and Icara, you know that I have thought about it from a variety of angles. My own mother is clearly not the inspiration for poor, broken Alice Hayes. My parents were solid and traditional, and I always knew there would be food at home and that I would always have a room wherever my parents were. I lived in the same house from the time I was 7 until I was out of college, and sometimes even after that. It was a good life.