Rose Colored Daydreams

I often feel lost without my mother. I have few memories of her parenting to judge and emulate. After her death I spent many an hour daydreaming about what life would be like if she were still alive. The truth was, I didn’t have many memories of her and the ones I did have involved hospital beds and whirring machines. Curled up after a verbal or physical attack, I would tell myself that my mother was looking down and she knew. She knew I was hurting. She knew I felt desperately alone.¬† She knew me and even though no one else loved me, she did. I needed to believe that someone was witnessing my hell. I needed to believe that my mom would have been outraged. I needed to believe that my mom would have saved me. To this day, my memories of her are rose colored. In my mind she is a saint. She never raised her voice or became impatient. She never made a mistake or disciplined in anger.

I wonder if she would be proud of my gentle parenting choices?

I remembered something tonight, a story my mother would¬† tell of her babyhood. See she wasn’t raised by her biological parents; she was raised by her aunt and uncle. How this came to be was quite simple. For financial reasons, my mother’s parents needed a place to stay while pregnant with my mother. They stayed with my great uncle. After my mother’s birth they, for whatever reason, chose to let my mother cry in her crib at night. My great aunt was driven to tears at the sound of the baby’s cries. Finally she began getting up with my mother and walking the hallway with her to get her back to sleep. Night after night of this created a bond between aunt and niece. When my grandparents were finally ready to move out, my great aunt refused to allow them to take “her” baby away. Somehow she convinced them to leave her my mother.

This story resonated with me tonight in a whole new way. My great aunt was a gentle parent. My mother was raised by a woman who could not bear a baby’s cries. How could that not have impacted her? How could that not have made my mother gentle as well?

I would like to think that my mother is looking down and she knows. She knows how I refuse to perpetuate pain. She knows how I answer my child’s voice whenever he calls. She knows how I refuse to allow my child to believe himself unloved or disrespected. She know how I fail and try again. She knows and she approves. She knows and she is proud of me. Rose colored? Perhaps. But my mother was raised by a gentle woman, so perhaps my daydreams are not too far off.