Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My mommy

Thinking about E and her inability to connect led me to thinking about my mother.

My mother did not say “I love you” very often. She had bad moods that could last all day. She did not join the PTA and never took off work so that she could be at a school play. She did not buy us things. My sister believed in Santa Claus longer than any of her friends. She knew for a fact that there was no way that our mother would buy all that stuff.

My mother was too busy and too poor to do most of the things that other mothers did. At different points in my childhood I may have been angry or resentful about that, but I always understood it was true. She divorced my father when I was seven. She never married again. She never even dated anyone for very long.

She was sad and lonely, but she also laughed. She showed me and my sister that it was better to be alone than to be hurt. She took care of us. She kept us safe. She loved us.

I came home sad one day when I was twelve. My mother asked me what was wrong. I told her that the kids teased me because my pants were short, “Expecting a flood?” they said. I told her as casually and unemotionally as I could so that she would not sigh too heavily as she said, “Well…maybe we can get you new pants next month.”

She did not say that though. She did not say much of anything. She went through her patterns, found fabric, and made me a pair of pants that evening. “I’ll make you more on Saturday” she said. “Can you wear these a couple days in a row?”

They were not very pretty pants. They did not come from the store. I don’t think they even had pockets, but they were the very best pants I ever had.


  1. What a lovely story. We show our love in many ways and who's to say that pair of pants wasn't more important that years of PTA and committees.

  2. And I was thinking about Dolly and her Coat of Many Colors


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