Today being mothering Sunday I am inclined to turn my attention to my own rather confusing relationship with my mother who I last saw in late December of the year 2000 just prior to my relocation to the United States of America, some few years before her eventual demise.
My mother was in all ways the exact model of what we assume the maternal should be, loving, supportive, caring, empowering, affectionate, all the traits required to successfully fulfill the role.
As a growing boy I never questioned our interactions, naturally having no other example to allow comparison. If I had had such an ideal I am sure mother would have measured up more than adequately which makes my present inclination to ponder all the more puzzling. I am truly able to confirm that whilst most all my needs were more than adequately provided for, I have not the slightest inkling of what mother thought or believed, the vaguest insight into what lay beneath that benign and stoic but utterly unilluminating expression. Try as I might I can recall no opinion, no forthright statement, not one clear and concise directive that shines a light upon the individual lurking behind the highly professionally performed role.
By comparison I have a wealth of insight into the workings of my father’s thought processes and emotions, a clear perspective of his political and social views, an adequate understanding of how his own upbringing created the man he was later to become. None of these fundamental building blocks I can state in relationship to mothers makeup. She quite literallyseemed a reflection, someone who amplified and communicated the ideas, opinions, beliefs, thoughts of those immediately surrounding her, her parent, her husband, her child, even on occasion the most boorish voice in the room. It do occur to me that in being a mirror for those around her perhaps she exemplified the exact qualities expected of the female in the Victorian and second Edwardian and Georgian eras.
Equally worrying mother had a habit of making casual remarks that I found wholly perturbing. Again, these remarks were probably overhangs of her own upbringing and societal norms but were nevertheless inclined to make me uncomfortable.
As a homemaker, an employer she was without comparison, houses were always both worryingly neat and scrupulously clean, almost to the point of sociopathy. Mother to my certain knowledge never wore pants, as good an indicator to her core values as any other. I owe her so much, including a large degree of my unfathomable strangeness.