Worship Your Mom

I spent Mother’s Day 2012 on my back in bed, wearing a massive maxi-pad and cabbage leaves on my boobs. I had just given birth to my daughter. I hadn't slept in seven days. There were twelve stitches in a part of body that I barely knew existed. It might sound like hell, but it was actually dreamy. I was very ambivalent about becoming a mother and spent my entire pregnancy convinced I would suffer from a hysterical Oprah Winfrey-worthy postpartum depression. But when my daughter arrived, I felt instantly mellow and blissed out. I was obsessed with her immediately, mystified by how capable and intense she was, and loved caring for her.

 

Anyway, last year, I started getting “Happy Mother’s Day” texts early in the morning, and at first, I was like, “they must have the wrong number,” but when I realized that I was actually the Mom, I was seriously in shock. Truthfully, even though I am in my late thirties, I am still psychologically a sixteen-year-old girl with pink hair and Doc Boots, incapable of anything other than smoking cigarettes, drinking Zima, and making mix tapes. It's really bizarre to look in the mirror sometimes and see an adult staring back at me. 

 

When I was in my twenties, I used to  hear this monk speak at a yoga studio and he would deliver long poetic dharma talks about life and love. Once he talked only about Moms. He said that resenting your mom is a waste of time; that our obligation as living beings is to love them fully, and to thank them daily for our lives. Back then, I thought the whole thing was idiotic. I’ve been in therapy since I was one second old, and I have a bazillion gripes with my mom — the idea of accepting her and our relationship seemed totally naive. But now I think I get it.

 

This is me and my mom and my big sis Becca! My Dad took this pic in 1982.
My Mom and I have a really complicated relationship. Even though she drives me up the wall, I am honestly obsessed with her.  There are few things in the world I’d rather do than talk with her for hours over tons of coffee.  For the full eighteen years I lived under her roof, she always made sure I was warm and safe. And once, in 2003, when I was going through a terrible breakup, she spontaneously got on a plane from Chicago to New York with a cooler full of lamb chops and artichokes, and cooked me dinner. Hello, who does that? My mom, obviously. She’s a dark, sparkly diamond, and I love and respect her madly.

But it wasn’t always that way. Growing up, I left dirty dishes and my disgusting discharge underwear all around the house. I talked on the phone a hundred hours a day, walking from room to room stretching the curly cord around whomever was in my way, nearly strangling and/or decapitating any family member who dared cross my path. I smoked pot in my Mom’s minivan and thought I was famous for no reason. One night when I was fourteen, I screamed out to her, “I hate you!” when she told me, in front of my older, cooler friend Oona, that my strict enforced curfew was (and would always be) — 11:30.

 

As I’m writing this on my couch, I’m staring up at a black-and-white photo of my Mom, framed on the wall, right above the fireplace. She’s standing on the porch of our cabin in Lake Michigan, holding a glass of wine, wearing a faded white tee and tight jeans. Wild, unruly ringlets frame her face. She is tough, young and hot; the year is 1982. She is the exact age I am now.
But now, it’s 2013. I am thirty-six, my mom is almost seventy, and I don’t ever want to scream at her again. I don’t want to make her life hard. I’ve been through dark nights of the soul in my day — enough to know that everything is precious, all of it, and every day is a miracle, blah blah blah, you know the rest. But through it all, I’m still here. In my life, whole and well. I have my mom to thank for that.

 

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies —  and on behalf of everyone at SFB, a big huge major thank you to your moms, too. We love you all. –Molly Guy