March 14, 2008

Mothering

My day started out driving - Hartford to East Haven, East Haven to Storrs. Then off to the True Colors Conference, this year at UConn in Storrs instead of CCSU in New Britain. Different venue. Same conference.

MYA was in East Haven - she was staying with her boyfriend. She has done that before, but this time was different. She and her mom had a fight the other night; a window got borken, and her brother called the cops. The police generally will separate domestic combatants - and it's pretty clear that when a mother with a young child and a 19 year old get into a fight, the 19 year old needs to leave. So, for the last few days, MYA has been homeless.

After the conference, more driving: Storrs to Bristol. En route home, I spoke with MYA about her mom. I talked of my relationship with my mom. I have not always had an easy time - I've been broke, been divorced, had a home close to foreclosed. I could lose my housing in the future. But throughout my life; I've always known that I could count on my mom - for a night in the spare bedroom or the sofa bed, for a warm meal, for a few hours of respite. Were I to find myself out on the street, I would only have to get myself up to MA and I know I would have a home. My mother's love and support has been one constant in my life. And so often, I have been able to take risks, to roll the dice, knowing she had my back.

And as I spoke of this, I told MYA that I recognized that this was not her reality. Her mom is not well, she's erratic and unpredictable, and financially treading water. She lacks the resources to do the right thing for her children. She is, in many ways, not the adult in the relationship with MYA. I told MYA that it broke my heart to know she did not have a home she could count on. Her mom loves her, but is not able to give her financial or emotional stability. And that I realized how difficult it was for her not to have that kind of support from her mom. And I told her that so long as I was in her life, she did not need to worry about a place to sleep, a warm meal - someway, somehow, we'd see that she was taken care of.

It's ironic really, before MYA and I were matched in the mentoring program, she had come to my workshops at the True Colors conference several times. The first one was one I did with my mom, about parents dealing with a childs transition. At the time, I wrote something about how healing it was seeing my own mom handing out PFLAG-ish hugs to the young transmen and women in the space.

Mothers. So often we take their love and support for granted. And it's not until we watch someone without that sort of mother do we realize just how fortunate we are.

It's a bit early for Mother's day, but this one is for you Mom. And for you, MYA - I wish I could make the world a safe place for you the way my mom has for me. The Roches singing "I Love My Mom"

1 comment:

Greg said...

I saw your post about your mom. I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about mother-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my page for details about submitting stories for Mom's Little Angel.

Gregory E. Lang
Author, Daddy’s Little Girl