a Hippie Bob Tale
Life started a long time ago; 62 years to be exact. My life began exactly as yours and I am honored that you are accompanying me on this journey. As is the case with the rest of humanity, my delivery was by a mother. Shocking as it may be, what began as a joyful encounter ended in a painful delivery. I caused my mom pain on that first day and delivered much more throughout the years. Your participation in this story can be purely entertainment or maybe I can evoke a tear or two as you recall mom and her roll in your life. Here is a question for you to ponder: Was it God, luck or personal choice that mom became our specific mom? For me the answer is all of the above because blame loves God as a choice, luck has two sides and personal choice allows for spiritual enlightenment.
Born in 1929 as Josephine, later to become Sherry or Bridget depending on who was addressing her--I called her mom. Like her grandmother before her, mom is now suffering with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Near term memory no longer exists with longer term memories vacillating between close enough and complete distortion. As for me, my ego was too focused on will she remember me? I wish my tears would wash my ego away…
The book title simply alludes to a recent trip visiting mom in Arizona for a total of eleven days—the most contiguous time I spent with her since I was eighteen, and yes I am ashamed to share with you that fact. Alzheimer’s freed my mother from that absentee son memory, but I am wreathing in the guilt that I have earned.
Some may misconstrue the true intent of this book is a personal cleansing by written confessions. It is not. This is a tribute to all mothers; lest we forget where we came from. In the cradle to the grave time life line, who was the steward in your life during the critical years? Tell her that you remember…
Whatever happened before the birth event no longer matters; I am here on earth with this mother—and how about you at this point? Are you feeling lucky? Too young to know but we are about to grow; and now I get to share with you the details that now lurk in my memory before I too forget them.
A child is born near helpless but can instinctively locate a breast and suck. If you think about it, all of nature’s bounty flows through that loving caretaker called mother. So here we are with no clarity of speech, no knowledge pertaining to survival skills (except sucking), no means to fend—but with mom this little beating heart has found the security to assure proper development; no village necessary.
Of course we all go through the couchie- coo period where everyone let’s mom know how special and cute (?) you are as she bristles with pride. Not that I want to grow too fast but it is time to free our self from captivity; the playpen, crib or any other container and get motoring; knees first and then those first few steps—upright and shaky but ready to run.
The formative years
If God had a spokeswoman than mom would be holding His press conferences—not just mine, yours as well. The crimes yet to be committed were already forecasted with the likely punishments already well thought out. Let us not forget that according to mom, God watches all that we do and she has His ear. Kind of an Adam & Eve situation— nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Trust me on this—God allows moms to use Him as her personal spy, after all if it is for your greater good He
supports it. Thankfully God keeps secrets from mom too, and you know which ones!
The preteen years are filled with wonder; as “I wonder why mom is doing this to me?” What can easily alienate a child is a mother’s dominate love, often mistook as being mean or any description of not giving a child what they want. Some examples of dominate love for me are:
Friends that are off limits: Don’t play with Mike because he uses dirty words, climbs trees and hates his parents. Mike is a year older and I can learn so much…besides Mike is right about his parents.
Assuring success; the gift of mandatory practice: You will practice your steel guitar one hour each day and finish your homework before you can play outside. She must hate me, shackled inside the house practicing guitar and doing homework while my friends play outside.
Behavior enforcement: “Because you were a bad boy, dad will take the belt to you when he gets home from work”. I miss my daddy, and I want to see him without the pain…no pain, no gain?
Encouraging children to fundamentally enhance their social skills/ development is a mother’s job. After all, a “child in a box” without the experience of eating dirt, getting hurt and competing for whatever, is a lonely child indeed.
The Scouts: Cookies or popcorn, no matter the fundraiser these are the foremost groups for child to child interaction with a well developed program for social enhancement. After all, what is a merit badge without an achievement? It was mom sewing on my badges.
Sports: Baseball, soccer, basketball, hockey, football etc. are all great social skill enhancers targeting the “team concept” with individual participation. Is that mom on the sideline screaming my name?
Any way, you get the idea and I know there are many examples in your mind on how the dominate love factor interfered with your desires, real or imagined. The sad part for me is that a well intentioned mother who practices dominate love is perceived to be mean by the very child the developmental focus was meant to benefit. It is a “secret alienation” in that you will not verbalize it as a child that “mom is mean” (at least not to her face), but you can carry that perceived grudge for a life time. What happens when, like me, you realize it was love based and not creative torture to deny you the joy of childhood? Is it too late to thank her?