Free At Last; A Mother’s Forgotten Love


So. I’ve been back to Austin from Santa Fe for ten days and I have several things to say. First, had I been born in Santa Fe I would not own property in Austin, Texas. I would not have a second home anyfuckingwhere within the borders of the Lone Star State. I might have an alternate home in some other state—like maybe Oregon or Vermont—but I would avoid the red states like the plague to humanity they have become.

My birth state is in a state of shambles from the perspective of civility. Right-wing Christian politics has turned a wonderful place to live into an almost third-world country and I find myself done with it. I’m too fucking old to think I’ll live long enough to see things change, so I bought a place over to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m moving in over there the middle of next week and after this move, I have no plans to move back.

When I first started thinking of getting a place over to the New Mexico mountains it was to gain temporary respite from the hot weather in Austin. As our globe has warmed under its canopy of greenhouse gas, the heavy, fetid heat of an Ecuadorian jungle has supplanted Austin’s once bearable weather cycles. Austin’s summer heat and humidity can suck the air out of your lungs in thirty seconds.

Not that I’m selling out here to Texas. Everything here will remain status quo save and except my presence on a continuing basis, and thoughts of hot, fetid air remind me of something.

Ann “When do I Blink” Romney has declared that the issues of gay marriage and contraceptives are distractions to her and not worthy of debate among true Americans. Mrs. Herr Rommel made the claim yesterday that over the last year her hubby has been on the campaign trail, she has grown to understand just what things are important to we common people and, especially, common American women.

Really? Access to contraceptives is not an important issue? Nope, not to the Herr Field Marshall’s modern Stepford mate. Fitting the politics for the spouse of a greedy man who secrets his immense wealth offshore, Ann Romney wants to focus on economics.

Of course her focus is on economics.

Second on things to say is to say that my mother’s memory loss has blossomed into full-fledged dementia and an associated dull idiocy. At breakfast this morning she informed the table that she has rented an apartment in, as she calls it, “That nice old folks home in San Antonio where they treat Christian ladies with the respect we deserve.”

When I asked her why she was leaving the loving comfort of her family home to live with strangers, she told me, she said, “It’s all your fault, Mooner. You allow homo-sex-u-als to sit at your table and you mock the Lord. You are evil and I don’t want to remain in your presence.”

She then handed me the Lease and first Invoice for her new apartment and demanded of me to, as she put it, “Handle this. You owe it to me.”

She is moving this coming weekend and asked me to notify people of her new address and contact information. She poked a hand written list into my hand and told me, “These are the ONLY people I want to know where I am. DO NOT, Butcher Einstein Johnson, give my information to anyone else.”

I scanned the list and when I raised my eyebrows, she said to me, “I mean not one other person !!!”

What had raised my brows was not who was on Mother’s list but, rather, who was not. Not on the list is Sister and her wife, Anna the Amazon, Streaker Jones, Dixie, Aunt Hilda, my Gram and me.

“Are you saying that you don’t want your family to know where you are, Mother?”

I was asking from a sense of confusion and got a confusing answer. “I hold no stead for homo-sex-u-als nor heretics, son. You’ll miss me. Did you get the birthday card I sent?”

My initial thought was to pretend to forget about the Lease and list and give Mother a chance to forget she had done it, but further thought convinced me to do otherwise. I’ll follow the instructions to the letter, and my last planned gift to Mother will be to pay her expenses while she spends her last days degenerating into a head of cabbage in a small apartment two hours’ drive from her closest family. I’ll tell her that she can request contact from those she’s excluded but that I’ll insure that none of us will darken her door without an invitation.

When I examined the lease, it’s cover letter was dated August of last year. My mother made this decision with forethought and before she had lost much of her mind. If it didn’t reflect her actual feelings—if it was an aberration of thoughts—I’d ignore her wishes and barge ahead in typical fashion.

But this is what she wants and I guess that I should be proud that she can finally be honest with me. When I told her that I would honor her wishes she said to me, she said, “Thank you, Mooner. You’re a good son but a terrible human being. You and your sister are the biggest disappointments in my life, and it’s your fault she turned out as she did.”

When my mother expressed her disappointments in my lesbian sister and me, I had an epiphany—an unsettling deja vu moment that should have been a foreshadowing for me. While my father was alive I thought that Mother was a saint of sorts. Daddy had my ADHD and a child’s exuberance for life. He was, in a word, a handful.

Whenever Mother would mistreat Sister and me with callousness she would blame it on Daddy. It didn’t matter the instance, Mother would treat us badly because Daddy was whatever he needed to be to explain Mother’s uncaring attitude. Mother always made it clear that she was only acting on Daddy’s orders. I loved my father but I always thought he was mean.

It was after my father had died that I felt like publicly exposing the fact that I had been raped as a child. I didn’t want Mother to hear it from someone else, so I decided to tell her first. I felt that she would be shocked and angry that one of her friends from church—a man she respected—had sexually abused her son.

I felt that Mother would be horrified and angry. I felt that she would comfort and console me.

I invited her to join me out back to the patio with a glass of iced tea. When seated, I explained to her the story of my thirteenth birthday and her not picking me up from aquatics camp, and the church Deacon-Boy Scout leader molesting me. The story rolled out of me in a rush and it seemed as if I had told it all in one breath.

When I finished, I took a deep breath and said, “I wanted you to hear it from me and not someone from your church.”

Mother lifted her frosty glass, sipped thoughtfully, and set it down carefully in the water ring already glistening on the marble tabletop where we sat.

“A boy tried to kiss me once and I fought him off,” my mother told me. “Are you going to grill for Easter dinner or will you make me cook?”

So much for comfort and consolation. I grilled goat and pork sausages for that Easter dinner and never again sought solace at my mother’s bosom. I’m not certain why, but Mother has made it crystal clear to me that I’m unwanted in her life

If you love something you are supposed to set it free. I have decided to set my mother free.

Manana, y’all.

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8 Responses to “Free At Last; A Mother’s Forgotten Love”

  1. mel says:

    I wish I had something awesome today, but I don’t. I am sad for you. You are way stronger that I am. Hang tough, my friend. I am gonna go have a good cry now.

  2. Mooner In Austin says:

    Mel. Thanks for your thoughts but don’t cry for me, Mel, and please save your tears for a more deserved emotion. I’m finally free from the worry of disappointing my mother–from trying to live up to her expectations. I’m a slow learner, but one who learns tough lessons completely.

  3. mel says:

    Ok, I will then blame my female hormones, the things that have been on my mind recently, and what this day is on the tears then, deal? Also, as per usual, I’m sleepy!!

  4. bj says:

    Sometimes …. Mommas just don’t know what to say …. and sometimes ….. Mommas avoid their kith and kin so that THEY won’t worry. Either way …. “I” Love you, man, and that was some sorry shit Rev. Deacon Scout Leader did to you. Next time Big “G” comes to call …. ask HER WTF she was thinkin’ when she did that to you. Totin’ that memory around in yer head year after decade ain’t good fer nuthin’ neither. I suggest usin’ East Clintwood’s vehicle; set an empty chair in front of you, imagine yer Momma’s sittin’ innit, and GO FUCKING OFF! Write that shit down (in a formal letter format) and then mail it to yer Momma. make sure she knows how you felt/still feel about it, then see if you can let it go. Life’s experiences are not always good for us? But they DO make us what we are …. and YOU my friend, are Finest Kind!

  5. Squatlo says:

    Yeah, what BJ said! Especially ’bout the “finest kind” stuff… if you read “MASH” you understand the context.

    But don’t bother mailing that written verbal purge to your mom. She’s on her way across a spotty rainbow most of us can only imagine dealing with, and nothing you write or say at this point will do anything other than make YOU feel shitty a few months or years from now when you ponder those last fleeting moments of cognizant, lucid mental capacity your mom still shared with reality. It’s easy to see how a “well, by god” moment might make you feel better for a moment or two, but in the long run it will just feel petty and mean in retrospect.
    Wish her well, call and go to visit as often as you can tolerate or afford, and let her know every chance you get that you love her.

    But take BJ’s advice and write all your feelings down. That’s some therapy even Sam-I-Am the SAC can’t offer. Just put it in a drawer and pull it out every now and then for a recital. Pretend you’re playing the part of Macbeth or something, and it’s only a part time performance no one else needs to hear you rehearse.

    Damn I give great advice. I shouldn’t have so many fucking problems with all this insight…

    Anything less will only eat at you like a cancer.

  6. Mooner In Austin says:

    Beej and Squat. I’d rather think that instead of growing into the sum of our experiential parts, we are, rather, what we eat. OK, maybe I need to rethink that entire logic string. If I were what I eat I’d most resemble a bowl of pork pudding with Carta Blanca pepper sauce.

    Maybe said as I meant it, we are who we choose to be. Unless we are among the truely crazy, we have the power of choice.

    Therefore, I say “Choose sanity- Vote a straight Democratic ticket!!!”

  7. Cynthianne says:

    Mooner- Damn! Sorry about your mom. Moving to Santa Fe will probably help by removing you from the scene of the bad memories. Sounds like you have some good neighbors up to Santa Fe- both the humans and the Roadrunner! Welcome to New Mexico!

  8. Mooner In Austin says:

    Cyn. Thanks. But the problem with memories for me is that the scene becomes your skull once the incident passes. But space and time between my mother’s disappointments and my face is a salve.

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