He sat and observed the people sitting around him. It was a busy Sunday morning and rightfully so since everyone was celebrating the one figure who gave them all life. He had read somewhere that mother’s day was a holiday that was intentionally meant for something else—the celebration of women who chose to be or not to be a mother. However, the human way of such things evolved in the way we see our mothers.
His mother, on the other hand, as he had come to realize throughout the years, was lost when she became pregnant with him. It was not the kind of lost that one may seem to look at as pathetic, but lost in her own determination to go out in the world and to prove something quite defiant. She may not have realized that her determination was far more difficult that she had imagined—but her youth and that blinding force of innocence catapulted her to the difficulties of life. Regardless, she persevered—even though she had been blind to the hardships.
In his mind, he was grateful for her innocence and blindness to what was in store for them both. She always told him, “It’s you and me and this fucking stupid world.” She never held back from such expressions that older mothers would refrain from, although when he was three years old, she told him that only she can say such things and that he should always mind his manners. She didn’t want him to be perceived as if he had been raised by a moron who should not have become a mother, and should have chosen abortion instead.
She was his biggest critic, and would be the first to tell him of her opinion.
“You weren’t very convincing about that last story.”
“You need to provide more depth and compassion in your delivery.”
“Frankly, that last one just sucked balls.”
He had lost count of how many times she drove him to school, as he sat there knowing full well not to interrupt her when she would discuss the importance of his future and what he was meant to do in this world, “you are meant to do great things, and you have to be very aware of this. Because right now you are fucking up your grades—which really, really, would only qualify you to work at a fast food joint. There’s nothing wrong with that—unless you’d like to waste your potential away. You might as well watch shit flush down the toilet—because that will be your life story.”
People can tell him over and over what an amazing career he has, the talent he possesses, the knack for navigating through the industry—but, it would always be his mother that tells him the truth. He’ll argue with her about how incorrect she was, but beneath the argument, they both know the truth.
He straightened out his tie with the contentment that while he may have had no say in selecting his mother, he sure as hell wouldn’t have it any other way.
She was in the bathroom washing her hands as she looked in the mirror and wondered what her mama would say when she realized that her plans meant she would be thousands of miles away. Her plan to move and live in another county had always been her dream. After all, this was what her mama taught her growing up. She remembered how her mama once said, “you were born at a disadvantage from the moment you realized that you are a girl. This world is filled with people who would look at you and base their opinions on your gender. You’re going to need to fight for every single thing.”
She loves her mama with a fierceness like no other daughter. She recalled becoming jealous at the slight attention she paid to another little girl or even to her siblings. She never understood where such jealousy stemmed from—only that it always happened whenever her mother would have a look on her face that should only be reserved for her own daughter. She remembered how her mother would recall when she wanted to have another child, and wanted to make sure that it would be a girl. She said that she wanted to raise a daughter who would never be afraid to speak up, and who would find a way to be strong in her own convictions.
She never had a heart to tell her mama that she had always been this way.
Her mother gave her loving attention, but was just as equally strict when it came to educating her about what she needed to prepare for in life.
There was no compromise.
Her mama taught her to protect her voice and to speak loudly of her opinions—but to remember never to argue with her mother who had her own opinions—because she was always right.
Mama, I’m an artist. I have to do this.
She decided to break the news next week when the hoopla of mother’s day had long gone. She had to brace herself for there was one thing she knew, and that was when it came to her mother she had to tell her the truth.
He stood in line waiting for the hostess to be seated at their table, and he had no idea how crowded the restaurant would be.
He looked at his phone to check the time, and decided to put it on silent. This was time spent with his mom, and quite frankly he knew that she would allow him to check his messages, but wouldn’t say out loud how rude it was.
His mom was the kindest and most generous woman he’s ever known. So much so that there are times when she shouldn’t be as generous, but he knew that she could never say no whenever people ask something of her. He’s told her numerous times that not everyone can be helped, and they in fact, should learn how to help themselves. But, she always responds, “have empathy. What would you do if you were in their position?” I’d tell them to fuck off, that’s what. Of course, he would never say that out loud. He was always very selective about who he helped, and he was better equipped at recognizing those who took advantage—something he learned from watching the people that were the recipients of his mom’s generosity.
He had learned many things from his mom. He remembered that growing up she was always multi-tasking, and he never felt as if he was lacking for something. He would go to school reciting what the schedule for that day. She’d tell him what time he had practice, what time they’ll eat dinner, and what they’ll have. His favorite would be when she’d tell him that they will pollo frito for dinner—the Italian version of fried chicken. He’d go to school that day looking forward to dinner, and he always felt that it was one of the many things she did so that he would never feel neglected from her busy schedule.
She had the knack for always being there for some reason. There were times when he forgot that she was cheering him on the sidelines—until he heard that familiar voice scream at the top of her lungs for him to do what he was already doing in the field. He was always very laser-focused that he doesn’t hear the crowd, but it was her voice that would penetrate through the noise.
She’d tell him that he was easiest child; from when she gave birth to him, and how she raised him. He always felt the pressure to be her peace, and never wanting to cause any tornado or tidal wave—for he feared that if he did, she’ll go into an abyss and it would take a while to get her back. He remembered even at one years old, how he’d cried only because he felt that her anger, her sadness, and her anxiety. He must’ve made it worse, but it was an uncontrollable reaction.
As he made his way to their table, he made the affirmation that what he had learned throughout the years was to be selective when it came to telling his mom the things that occurred in his life. He had decided to only call on her when it was the most dire of all situations. And, she knew that when he’d call out of the blue that he needed her– whether it was to be comforted, to provide wisdom, or simply to guide him out a situation. Because as much as she may know the answer to a great deal of many things and was quite generous about answering them, he’d prefer to learn them in his own way. He was not like those other people.
The restaurant was packed as she made her way through the lines of people waiting for a table. Her husband needed to make a pit stop at the restroom, and she told him that she’d meet them at their table.
Mother’s day, in her opinion, had always been a day of celebration not for the mothers, but for the children. Nonetheless, she found a certain happiness on such occasions.
The linen covered tables and people all around their mothers was a beautiful sight, she thought. Some were wearing a corsage (too much!); others were dressed in their yoga attire (must be a theme?), and a group of women toasting champagne to being moms to four legged furry babies (definitely counts).
She stopped at the table where she noticed familiar faces. Beautiful gorgeous faces from the time they pushed themselves out into this world after inhabiting her body, and leaving their fucking distinction through the permanent ravines of stretchmarks.
There they were. Her children.
One who will talk about his latest stories.
One who will set her aside later so that he can ask her for advice.
The one who will tell her that she will move away because she’s an artist.
A mother knows all perspectives.