My mother was in her yoga class in Boca Raton last week, doing one of her chair exercise, when another woman accidentally moved the chair that my mother was leaning against for support. My mother fell back, hit the floor, and when she stood up, the teacher noticed blood. The paramedics quickly came and she received three stitches in the back of her head. She’s OK now, or “Perfectly fine,” as she always says, and already back in the exercise class.
I was anxious that day, naturally worried about her.
I read this article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Who Are You Calling a Mama’s Boy?” The writer, a mother of a son, poses the thought, “A strong mother-son bond is crucial, but heaven help the mom who admits being emotionally close to her son.”
So much of who we are comes from our parents.
Have you noticed that I rarely write about sports? My father never watched any sporting events. We never watched a baseball game together or played any games. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do things with him, but they were always cultural events, like the theater or concerts. He always treated me as a little adult. Because of that, I never clicked with him in the emotional way as I did with my mother. I played board games with my mother. I wrote silly stories for her to read. I did magic and puppet shows for her. As an only child, I turned to my mother for companionship.
As a teenage boy, my relationship shifted. All of a sudden, I didn’t want to be seen with my mother. How “gay!”
Nowadays, I laugh when I read my mom blogging friends complain about how their adorable little boys — now teenagers — don’t want to be hugged anymore! Of course they don’t. I still remember the horror of being in the supermarket WITH YOUR MOTHER, and being SEEN doing it!
Over the last year, I lived with my mother in Queens. I found the whole experience somewhat embarrassing, even if the reason was related to my separation. What type of adult man should not be living with his mother? I joked about it online, but it did hurt my self-esteem. But it was a positive experience. I experienced a relationship with my mother as if we were roommates — as two adults.
Well, not all the time.
“Wear a hat!” she would yell at me as I left the house in December, in the exact same tone as when I was in third grade.
But we found common interests, and discovered that we could even watch an R-rated movie together without needing therapy.
I would not feel so comfortable with my father.
I do have some qualities of a “mama’s boy.” At the same time, I don’t, thanks to my mother herself. She never hovered over me, and even went back to work when I started school. I was never her entire life.
I still think about my father, who passed away in 2005, a few months after I started my blog. I’m still unsure how to process his death, and what it means to me. It is odd to have someone just disappear from your life — forever.
All these emotions are flying through my nerves, because talking about my parents is talking about myself. And there is no more difficult subject to write about than yourself.