To my mother.
Writing about home is something I find myself doing quite frequently. I often fear that I am boring readers because after all… home is really only special to the person who calls it that. I told myself this Southern Wild blog would not be personal. I told myself I would stay on the surface with all matters that directly affect the people I love, but that’s hard to do. Because the people I love make me who I am, and I can’t very well write about any one else.
Every time I visit home I realize I’m not the Cap that left. There is an ache in my heart for all of the wonderful things I’m missing in the daily routine at home, but there is a love for the obliviousness in being away. There is something so painful about going home. I won’t go into detail, because I’m saving the juicy stuff for my big New York Times bestseller (kidding), but there is a heartache so deep that only seems to surface when I cross over Louisiana territory.
Youth seems to grant each individual the convenience of moving forward – something I’ve always found charming. But adult life, especially at the root of the pain, is a constant tug-a-war with progression. You see, I believe we are all allowed to make our own futures, but sometimes the things we hoped our futures would cover up make up too much of our foundation and the battle between growth and personal substance is too much to overcome.
Getting to my point..
I was a caring kid, but between my mother guarding me from the harsh reality of our life and my father lying about every aspect of daily interactions – it was hard to get a real grip on the interpersonal relationships within my family unit. For a large part of my life, I thought my mother was too saddened by her past to focus on the future. I grew up thinking my father, when sober, was the glue that held my family together.
How wrong I was.
Over the holidays, I watched as my mother set out every single item from my niece’s Christmas list under her tree. I watched her stress about the barbies and the books she purchased. I helped her mark off each item, and I even signed Santa’s name on Addie’s list. For the first time, I understood the magic in Christmas. It was like a spotlight suddenly beamed on my little heart, and I was no longer a Grinch. I’d venture to say my heart even grew a few sizes that day.
Yet, after the warm, fuzzy feeling came over me and covered my body in goose bumps, I wondered why my mom was in charge of playing Santa. So I asked her, because that’s what adulthood has taught me. I asked why she did the shopping, and why she arranged the gifts, and why she sprinkled glitter streamers all over the house.
“Well, who else was going to?”, was her response.
My body nearly doubled over from the realization. My mother had been covering up everyone else’s screw ups her entire adulthood, and she’d done it quite successfully.
Here I am, nearing Senior Citizen discounts, and I’ve only just been able to grasp the amount of roles she plays on a daily basis. I left shortly after Santa’s workshop exploded in her living room in a desperate attempt to hide the waterworks that were about to flow from my tear ducts. I think loads of people attempt to put into words the love and respect they have for their mothers, but I’ve never felt as though I understood that depth prior to her uttering, “who else was?”.
She’s been my everything even when I didn’t see it. She’s the foundation that makes looking back not quite so hard. She’s the reason I still call Louisiana home.
That’s the kind of woman I hope to be.