My Mothers Mysterious Gifts

Tonight while I was reading on the couch, my 13-year-old son curled up at the other end with his book. He stretched his very long legs out into my lap and asked me to rub his feet. I watched my son read his book and I could not believe how much Love I feel for this boy.


I did not know there was this intensity of Love in the world until I had my child.


My father was an odd man. He was wicked smart and totally unconcerned with what people thought of him. I learned to be my self and to be unafraid of challenge from him.


My father loved my sister and I in a Wild kind of way. He was a Man’s Man and would also cry at the drop of a hat. He would tell anyone and everyone about “His Baby Birds.”  He would sing our praises and then bear hug us in front of everyone he knew.


Sitting with my son today I realized that the Love I feel for my son is what my Father felt for me.


Daddy would tell us, “Your mother loves you girls so much, she just doesn’t know how to show it.”  We would argue with him and he would have none of it. Daddy could not fathom how it was that  our mother could not love us. We are so easy to Love.


My father loved my mother in the same way he loved us; totally and unconditionally. He would say, “Your mother is one of the strangest people I have ever met and I love her.” Daddy tried to explain to me why it was that Mommy could not show us love. It is a complicated story and I don’t know if Daddy’s perceptions were even correct.


Today I found myself in my mind’s eye sitting in the living room of the house in Iowa on a Summer day. I can hear only the old clock from Germany ticking the time away.  My mother is in the kitchen feeding all the animals. She had a gift with animals that was beyond mysterious.


My mother could lean her head out of the window of their home in the country and call for a new mommy possum to come for dinner and not minutes later the possum would appear, with her babies, to eat from my mothers hands.  My mother could use her words  to speak love to the wild creatures she cared for. I spent my life hearing my mother encourage and console the wild beasts of the field and forest. Wild creatures seemed to call her their own and she belonged to them.


“Your mother is very, very strange, “ Daddy would say, “But she is gorgeous and smart, very , very smart.”  My father explained that in their day, women were  to be refined and beautiful and that was it. My father was a handsome man and had had many lovers before meeting my mother. “Your mother was not afraid to speak her mind and voice her opinions. You girls have to understand what a rare creature she is.”


In my pretend visit to the house today, I could hear my mother loving the creatures who came to visit her day and night. She said very little to us over the course of our lives but one time she told me, “Animals don’t judge you, They take you for who you are. That is why I love them.”


My mother is an odd woman. Not because of the dementia, and not because of the alcoholism but because she is not like any other woman I have ever met. Today I placed her in the historical context of the 50’s; a time of repression for many, women included. Especially an incredibly intelligent and gorgeous woman like my mother. She liked Jazz and played the bongos and smoked dope with her friends; all the while being expected to fit into a society that judged an opinionated, unusual woman harshly.


I began to understand and not resent the animals who made up her world. She was right, they did not judge her; they accepted her.


Daddy brought us up to give what must be given and to then give a little more. We were brought up to use our gifts to be of use in this world. I am my father’s daughter and I have taken those lessons to heart. Except where it matters the most; in giving love to my mother.


She is locked on a secured floor of a nursing home. With the help of an angel social worker, Mary Beth Leitzmann, I was able to find a permanent home for my mother in a good facility. My mother must share a room which must irritate her no end; BUT her bed is pushed up against a huge picture window that looks out on a peaceful courtyard. There are bird feeders and squirrels.


Often when I visit my mother is sitting on her bed looking out the window or at one of the many albums I made that holds photos of all the pets we ever had. She had little interest in  the photo albums of family. I resent that.


My mother seems peaceful and maybe even happy when she is looking at the albums  filled with her animal friends. I can see, at this moment, that those friends never judged her for her odd way of being in the world. Her animal friends did not see her as strange; they only saw her as deeply loving and committed to them.


I am looking for 1% Forgiveness and I can see today, with my sons feet in my lap, and Daddy’s words in my heart, that compassion and understanding will be needed in my toolbox as I walk this road.


My father taught me not to  shy away from challenge. My father taught me to help those in need of help.


My mother is alone in this world and she always has been save the love of my father and the family she found in the fields and forests. Maybe Daddy was right and she did love us. I doubt it, I really do,  but I realize today that that is not of consequence. My mother is a woman apart in more ways than one. It is not just the dementia that holds her captive but perhaps her very nature.


It is not for me to judge. My mother is who she is and her gifts are mysterious. She is an unusual woman and she has caused me tremendous pain. Daddy would say, “I don’t believe in this Heaven or Hell thing. Heaven or Hell is where each person you have known will put you after you have gone. Heaven or Hell exists in memory.”


I am up for this challenge; to create memories of my mother that can help me find it in my heart to place her in heaven when her time comes. A little compassion and an attempt at understanding can help me walk this !% Forgiveness journey.


Tonight I will hold the image of my mother feeding a new mommy possum with her babies right from her hands. I will watch as my mother waves them off into the night wishing them well on their way. I will hold this image tonight and place it in context. My mother can love those who do not judge her harshly. I will sleep with compassion and take these next steps with care.

~ by Step On a Crack on October 2, 2011.

9 Responses to “My Mothers Mysterious Gifts”

  1. My heart goes out to you after reading this post, you moving toward understanding you mother, and feeling your way into her life. I hope this can continue and you can find piece within yourself.

    Look in your heart and learn love.


    • Your blog touched me last night. I will keep coming back for a dose of Peace and Love. Thank you for the kind words. I think, no, I know, the only way I can walk this with Peace is with support. Thank you for offering yours! Peace, J


  2. I love your transparency. You are in my prayers daily and I know God answers! Thank you for continuing to tell your story! It’s very important to recovery (yours and ours). I’m grateful to have found your site!


    • Heidi you have been a source of inspiration and support. Really, I am giving you a big blogosphere Hug right now! Thank you VERY much! I have found the heart to keep going at the Good Life… Yes I have.


  3. Wow, that was beautiful!


  4. Jennifer,
    Both the info and writing style are excellent. It is extremely moving and I am already hooked.
    I believe it is very important for you to find some forgiveness towards your mother for your well being.
    Hopefully that will come sooner than later.


    • Thank you very much Alan. The Sauna club is moving into my Real World and I am grateful. It is a tricky thing this blog: I need to be totally honest about who my mom is and what she has done at the same time I am trying to make room in my heart for her. No Mind, Right? This is hard BUT I better do it. Thank you for the kind words and your support; both in the blogosphere and the Sauna Club. Love, J


  5. My sweet, all i can say is thank god for your dad. Love you! Mel

    P.S. You are fabulous … YOU created YOU … and again, thank god for your dad.


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