Mama’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama’s gonna keep baby cosy and warm
Those lyrics from Pink Floyd’s seminal rock opera The Wall may seem like an inappropriate preface to a Mother’s Day column, but hey, I’ve never been overly conventional.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom just as much as the next guy. That is, of course, just as much as the next guy who totally and unconditionally loves his mom, not the next guy who can’t stand his mom.
In fact, I can honestly say my mom is still the nicest person I’ve ever had in the privilege of knowing in 1.82793116 × 10 to the ninth power seconds I have been alive.
Ask anyone who knows her.
The thing is, moms are people too. They have their own strengths and weakness, their own fears and anxieties, their own secrets and desires. There are great moms and mediocre ones and terrible ones and everything in between.
It’s sometimes really hard to think of them that way, way up there on the pedestal we put them, particularly on Mother’s Day.
It cannot be an easy job being a mom, the drive to protect a child being at least as strong as the drive to help him thrive. A very complex balancing act to be sure. Like the song says.
How to instill confidence while still imparting a healthy dose of wariness for the dangers that await in the big bad world out there and all while you are also trying to be a person in your own right with all of the inherent stresses and challenges?
I think it’s probably more difficult for most moms than most dads, too. The difference between throwing you in the deep end of the pool and making sure you have top-of-the-line water wings and are within arm’s length.
At least that’s how it was for me, which is probably why I always cut mom more slack than I did dad, may he rest in peace.
Our relationships with our parents are complicated and ever-evolving.
I wasn’t always my mom’s biggest fan, particularly when she was holding me back from doing the things, that, well, I probably never should have been doing in the first place.
And yes, I did blame her for a short time for putting all of her fears into me, for helping me build my wall, but realized pretty quickly, that really wasn’t fair.
In any event, even if it was fair, I paid her back tenfold by putting her through more hell than she ever should have had to endure. I have spent half a lifetime paying penance for those transgressions despite the fact, being the exceptional human being she is, she long ago forgave me, even if she ever blamed me.
We inherit a lot from our parents both genetically and by osmosis.
On balance, I got a lot more good from my mom than bad. Which makes sense since there is very little of the latter in her.
Regrettably, most of my foibles are my own.
I feel very fortunate to have gotten one of the great ones.
Love you, mom.