If you’re reading this. It is the future. I’m writing to you from the past. Who knows how long I’ll be on the shelf with this illness, but I wanted to get this written down in time to go up on Mother’s Day just in case.
People often have a opinion of the holiday that is steeped in one of two things. An unabashed love of it and their Mother, or a deep avoidance of it because of their Mother. I fall oddly enough in both categories. Some of you know why more than others. When people naturally assume I’m talking about the woman in all the photos of my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood constantly referred to as my Mom, they wonder how I can have ill feelings towards her. Like every child, at some point I got mad about not being allowed to do or get something (usually my way), but I assure you that is not what I’m talking about here. I’m in both categories because as is the case for kids like me, I know the fundamental difference between me and most of you. As many people constantly post the sonograms of their upcoming children, the poems about their mothers and how they were carried 9 months and all that, and inevitably the “she knew me before I knew myself” based reflections, I get angry.
Let me explain.
I get angry because I know, sort of, the woman who did that. I know her in my features, my skin tone, my likely genetically passed along diseases (thanks for the diabetes). I don’t know her face other than what exists in my own. I don’t know her voice other than what markers her and my father passed along to me. And that makes me angry every year at this time. Right along side knowing that I was easy to cast aside. But another anger rises in me. I am angry for the woman who has loved, cared for, scolded, taught, cried over and with, cheered on, and supported me from the moment she saw my face. Because she had to find me. Because she and my Dad had to look for me. Because I wasn’t theirs to begin with.
In movies, because well I always relate things to something easy, you often find a character who is secretly someone else entirely has odd differences in their mannerisms, looks and the like from their family and finding out why is some deep secret from the family’s pandora’s box. I’ve always known why. I’m adopted. I could say it is easier to handle sticking out when you know why, but I’d be lying. Knowing your extreme light complexion black parents are not passing it on to you so you look darker in every photo? I know the reason. Knowing your siblings from your father’s past relationships are all substantially taller than you, and you’ll probably never get there? I know the reason. And those are the superficial issues. The hard stuff is much darker. I won’t get you too deep in that existential nightmare, but hold the rails as I dip your toes in.
Wondering if your parents really love you or if they might send you away because you aren’t really their kid they just chose to have you around? I know the reason for that fear and it started at age 5.
Get out of that pool folks it only gets darker from there.
So while some of my anger is from not being wanted by the woman who gave birth to me, a lot of it is from not being born my Mom’s son. Knowing that somewhere deep in her mind just like in mine we hurt for the same reason, that we had to find each other. That her and my Dad had to go through paperwork, lawyers, judges, an apparently heartbroken foster mom, and state agencies as well as everyone who represented my birth mother’s family just to get me into their lives so I could have the beautiful dream ending that you seriously only hear about in movies. You might wonder why that inspires anger and not joy, happiness, or many other positives emotions. Well it does. But I started with anger so you’d get why the highs are so high.
I said at the top I’m in both categories. The flame of my anger has, admittedly, dimmed a bit, as I just stopped caring about all but the fact that my parents are the ones who love and raised me. Who were there for all the tiny moments and the towering ones. But the anger category was never so powerful as to overshadow the joy. Better said the anger fueled even more joy. How so? Let’s dream out the other side of that dark pool from earlier for a moment shall we? I don’t wonder did my parents want to have me around. I know they did because of all that to get me here. I have verifiable, legally documented, state stamped proof that by the sheer force of will of my parents I became Matthew Elisha Williams (My name is, in the end, rather telling). I take pride in my name and the meaning of my name. Not because it is so American that eagles should come flying out from behind me while Jimi Hendrix plays the Star Spangled Banner every time it is said or I walk into a room. But because, quite literally, it is the story of how I came to be.
So when I look at my Mother, now enjoying retirement, reading books, but sadly dealing with the complications of having MS effecting one of her legs I have a towering joy. That woman chose me. Every child that was available for adoption in 1982 was available. Every single one, and instead of all of them, me. That’s a powerful thing to know. That’s a powerful memory to hold in your heart and mind when things get bad. I know, because I have. I let her pick what we do with Mother’s day every year. Some years I didn’t have the money to buy her gifts so I wrote for her. Some years the gift doesn’t arrive on time. No matter what though, I give thanks for her. I take a moment every chance I get to remind her I love her, to say thank you, and on days like Mother’s Day additionally make sure she knows I care. Because, as I often say, my parents are my favorite super heroes, always have been, always will be. So I make sure to honor the one I still get to see whenever I want. The cliché ending would be “take a moment and talk to your Mom, think about your Mom, or go see your Mom.” I wouldn’t dare presume that you only have the bright side of the journey I just took you on. Instead I’ll end by saying no matter what your situation, no matter your relationship with your Mother, take a moment for yourself. Reflect on who you are. If that reflection leads you to a positive place about your Mother, take some time for and or with her. If that reflection leads you to a negative place about your Mother, take some time to honor who you became in spite of that relationship. I could say more, but Words Don’t Do Mom Justice!
Happy Mother’s Day!
– THE Ruthless Wonder
P.S. shoutout to the soon to be Moms that are also big time WDDIJ Superfans Jessica Thomas and Danielle Baron-Anders(or Anders nee Baron, Luv ya but I have no idea what you decided on last name)