letters / memory / mom

ideal mother

On December 28, 1984, my mother wrote:

I love you very much, Marta. It’s probably hard to believe sometimes–I know I’m difficult as a person, and nobody’s idea of “Mother”, but I never learned how to be anything but myself. I wish for you the same.

What is everyone’s idea of “Mother”?

9 thoughts on “ideal mother

  1. One thing I noticed right away was how similar this disclaimer is to public doubts about one’s qualifications to be called (say) a “writer,” or “friend,” or “artist,” or “husband,” or [etc., etc.]… It’s actually very hard to prove (or even feel confident) that one is a good ANYTHING without referring to the opinions of other people. As with a writer, artist, computer programmer, Web site developer, I’d have to say that good-mother-ness can really be judged only over time, by how the “product” is regarded by others. (On which basis I think many would agree that YOUR mother succeeded hugely.)

    But wow, the “idea of ‘Mother'”? That’s a biggie. Think I’d prefer to listen in on other’s comments on this one — not even sure how to approach it.

    • Not sure anyone wants to approach it.

      Am I writer if no one else thinks so? If I’m the only one who thinks so, am I a writer or a dillusionist? (I made that word up. I’m a writer. I can do that… hmmm. Maybe?)

      If a writer writes a story and leaves it in the forest where no one reads it, is it still a story?

  2. This fits right in with my comment from last time. It’s unimaginable to me as well, to tell my child not to come home. I assume Mom thought this was her last bit of leverage to bend me to her will, since I was an almost-adult. She made so many mistakes as a mother, and she beats herself up over them now, so there’s no way I’d ever bring it up. Nothing would be gained except to remind her to hate herself.

    I’m always aware that she was doing the best with what she had been given by her own mothers (natural and adoptive). She did better than they did, and I hope I’m improving on her example. I do worry constantly about that.

    Despite her mistakes, she was the only one who was there for me through the years. That might have been the only thing she was able to offer me. So I guess my definition of “mother” is a woman who gives as much as she can, however much that may be.

    • My mother had many regrets too. She tried to talk about them–some of them we were going to get to eventually. Oh, well.

      You are understanding. She is lucky. And whatever mistakes she made, she must’ve done something right, because you’re pretty cool.

  3. One who cares for her young, provides for them as best she can, protects them, teaches and trains them how to survive in the world and not need her anymore, and how to be her friend.

    Not all women can muster this though. Sadly, most child homicides are committed by the so-called mother.

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