I took my mom shopping today, Mother’s Day, like I do every other weekend. This is what she requested we do for her special day. I insisted I take her to lunch, too, and she accepted (I get my love of free food from her).
I gave her a gift – a t-shirt with the college’s name that I attend on it and a picture from when I graduated from the local community college last year. “Oh, thank you, Emma. I love it,” she told me. I smiled. I like it when she’s happy.
Today, Mom talked about how she was going to leave Larry, her alcoholic, abusive, live-in boyfriend, as soon as [insert reason here]. This is nothing new to me. As much as I want her to leave him and want to believe she’ll leave him, I know it won’t happen because abuse is a cycle. When life is good, Larry is nice to Mom, buys her things, they talk about getting married. When life isn’t so good, Larry is mean to Mom, drinks up the money, she talks about leaving.
Mom isn’t without her own set of issues. Substance abuse, low self-esteem, and a history of abuse sets the stage for a life of bullshit with no shovel to dig a way out. The good thing is there are ways to get a shovel. If one is strong enough, they can find one on their own. If one is lucky enough, someone gives them a shovel. It doesn’t really matter how they get the shovel so long as they do something with it once it is in their hands.
A shovel is a tool a person in bullshit must use to dig their way out. Mind you, this is something they shouldn’t do alone. Bullshit is heavy, and digging oneself out with a single shovel makes progress slow and lonely. Even though others help dig, this is something the person in bullshit must drive. But how can someone do this for themselves when they have low self-esteem, mental illness, substance abuse issues?
In the past, she’s come to me for a shovel. I’ve given her a shovel, and I brought my own, too. Once the digging started, she’d drop her shovel and run. Lather, rinse, repeat. No one on this planet should ever have to feel angry ever again because I have felt enough anger for the entire fucking world times 1,000. Same goes for pain, sadness, and helplessness.
I can’t even begin to imagine how Mom must feel.
Everyday I am with Mom is Mother’s Day. Sometimes our visits are easy and sometimes they’re hard (that bullshit pile gets in the way. Stupid bullshit pile.). Regardless, I make sure I help her with carrying groceries and listen to her stories of people she thinks I know but I’ve never met. Why? Because I want her to know that I love her even though she may not be able to love herself.
But most of all, I want her to know I haven’t given up on her, and that I’m still standing here with two shovels – one for her and one for me.