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Please know first and foremost that I love you with every ounce of my being. You were my first experience of true, unconditional love from a male. Your adoration and delight at just a glimpse of me was enough to send you into a breathless, toothless, joyful giggle. I will always treasure our “love at first sight” moments forever …. and every moment after that.
But like all things, time moves on and our expectations shift … we become more impatient. I know that I frustrate you now… and that you think I don’t know what I’m talking about most of the time. I know that you want to be free of me, so this is my first step in releasing you…
I thought it may be helpful if I made a list of “To Do’s” that you could refer back to, to help you on your journey through life. You never know when I may not be on hand to answer your queries and that can be for a number of reasons…
- I may be asleep! God knows how many hours I have lost and tried to catch up on since you were born. If you have said, “Mum” more than 3 times and my eyes are still tightly shut, trust that I am in a deep sleep and please leave well alone. It can only get ugly if you keep persisting from here.
- I may be shopping with my girlfriends … hahaha – that got you! No, as you well know, I would probably be more likely working. Trying to keep my head above the endless “To Do” lists I have before I start work again when I get home. I’m sorry that I’m always saying, “I’m sorry that I am ALWAYS working!”
- I may be on a date … Stop laughing! I know, we all wish!
- You may not be talking to me because life has been so unfair to you, and you’re angry because you can’t have the tickets to that concert, band, new shoes, shirt, …. whatever… because we have bills to pay this week.
- I may be with my new lover on a deserted island making mad passionate love and eating fresh fruit all day … in the nude! I know – it even freaks me out!
- I may have died.
So, I want you to know a few things to help you along your path because, in amongst all of the chaos we have experienced together, I ran out of time to tell you some vital life facts.
- Always know, that regardless of how angry we are with each other, how much you think I don’t “get” you, how pissed you are that we don’t have a “normal” family, and how much I work and am not there for you physically … every single moment of every day I hold you in my heart. I love you completely, and beat myself up constantly for the shit job I did at raising you on my own. I wish a thousand times over that I could do a million things differently. But at the end of it all, I would love you the same.
- When you get married (whether you’re straight, gay or indifferent) develop your “domestic radar”. You know the one … it’s when I say “take the garbage out, clean your room, take your dishes to the kitchen – no, not the sink, put them in the dishwasher!! If you have to sniff your t-shirt, it needs washing! Don’t use your shirt as a napkin, clean your fingernails, shower … today! Take the garbage bins out … no, not in the morning, now. You know you won’t do it the morning. Please flush!!!” Trust me, you may not believe it now, but it will make you look, sound and be 100 times more attractive than you already are with a partner. And when it comes time for you to have kids … give her/him a break. Let them sleep in. Let them take the kids to a games center and play for hours … who cares if they go crossed eyed – just let her/him sleep, eat, watch movies, sleep, call their friends, sleep, have a massage, sleep, sleep and then sleep some more. And remember, your Mum rarely did that because there wasn’t the money, time, or anyone to be there for her, like you will be there for them. And if your partner takes you for granted, work it out in therapy … but I have a feeling she/he will love on you like no other if you do the above!
- Remember, that as much as I am your mother first and foremost, I am also still a woman. I know that I fall into bed at night, that I usually look like a wreck when I’m not working, and that you haven’t seen me go a date in forever, but that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t want to “feel” like a woman. So sometimes take me out for dinner, or if that isn’t in your budget, make me dinner, set the table, sit and chat with me, and then clean up afterwards. I wouldn’t care if we had cold toast (ok, I would have to hurt you if that’s what you made), because all I really want is for us to sit, and chat and laugh. You are my most favorite person to be with in the world, regardless of how many siblings you have.
- When you go to your partner’s, or a friend’s place for dinner, or anything, offer to help. It might be the garden, the dishes, the meal, fixing a broken table, tasting a ghastly (say it’s delicious) pasta. Always leave every place and person better for you having been there. In fact, aim to leave everything better than you found it … including people.
- Ask me about my day sometimes. I know it’s boring to you, and I know I should have a “partner” to share these things with … but I don’t, and sometimes all I need is a, “Wow! Mum, that’s fantastic!” Or “Mum, that’s really shit. Sorry that you’re dealing with that.” It’s not always about you and what you have going on in your life. There are so many things I don’t tell you because I don’t want to worry you, interrupt your studies, burden you with issues that (whatever your age is) you should have to deal with, or show you how scared I am.
- Know that when you find a partner, kissing (especially kissing – trust me on that one) and hugging, and snuggling on the couch are some of the most wonderful things to do on the planet with the one you love. Know that I am so sorry that I didn’t give you more examples of this … well, I’m sorry I didn’t give you any example of what romantic love looks like in action as I raised you. This makes me feel very sad, but the choices I made did not include an intimate relationship. Just know that you don’t need to be a witness to it, for it to be born within you and blossom. You are a passionate, kind, loving soul. None of us need to “see love” to “be love”. Trust your heart, be vulnerable and know that you will know exactly what to do when the time comes.
- ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS treat your partner with respect. I know that I have lost my temper, yelled, thrown things, sworn like a sailor, and cried like a spoilt child … but I am asking you to love her/him anyway, when they show you their ugly side – we all have one. Stand strong… sometimes all we need is someone to see the fragile us when crazy comes to visit, and not falter. You do that, and their trust for you will go through the roof … remember trust is far more valuable in a relationship than love. Be there for them … be their rock.
- Know that the hardest thing I have ever done is be firm with you … that when I set boundaries, and then we didn’t talk, my heart broke into a million pieces. Know that when I had to criticize you to help you be better, it crushed me, and I cried myself to sleep. Know that I did it so that you could be a better man for the person you would love and not because I wanted to hurt you or make you feel less than. Know that I always see that little boy who never wanted to disappoint me … but I had to say those things so you could love your future partner completely. I knew it would hurt, but I had to tell you how I saw it, and let you sting so that you could surrender into the love that awaits you.
- Please know that when you ignore me (or your future partner,) it cuts like a knife and only serves to drive us apart. Know that silence in a relationship is a killer … of trust, intimacy, joy, fun and vulnerability. Don’t ever shut your partner out like you have me. Your partner, unlike me, may not be standing there waiting for you when you eventually see the errs of your way.
- Know that I am crying now as I write this … because we are not speaking. Because I found the courage to release you into your future, and in doing so I released me into mine.
- Son, know that there will be no one like you. Whether you were my only child, my first born, second or tenth. Know that every part of your magnificent, unique soul, healed a part of me. Know that I will love you totally … and forever. And I hope, regardless of the path we walked … you will also me!
Always yours … Mum xo
by Terry Hawkins