realizing maybe i don’t know my mother at all
Yesterday I got an email from her — she’s setting off on one of her 3-week business trips to South America. Which sounds sort of like fun in the abstract, but she’s already been traveling for months, on and off, and she won’t be spending more than two days in any place, to get to relax or see anything. She’s done many of these before, and of course realized it can be exhausting and lonely, but yesterday she wrote that she’ll have to try not to get depressed as she often does on these hectic trips.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard her use the word “depressed” before, in relation to herself. And she said it with no melodrama, as if although it’s an extreme emotion, it’s just situational: checking into a hotel late at night, only to check out again to fly to the next city early in the morning. Day after day. It makes sense. And she’s a worrier: worrying about my father, who’s not in perfect health, and my brother, and me a million miles away, and her work.
While all this makes perfect sense, it was funny to me that she had never said it before, so directly. She has a personality that seems very open and straightforward, but I realized that she didn’t really talk about how she felt. She’s never outwardly made her own happiness a priority (funny for a child of the 60s, maybe), but even so her work and life choices I think have brought her genuine satisfaction and contentment, even if not daily joy. Well that’s how it’s always seemed anyway, but maybe I don’t really know afterall.
The email made me sad (just about any emails from home make me sad though), but in a way I also see this as an opportunity. A little more emotional honesty and openness, hopefully running both ways, now that I’m more of an “adult.” Now that we realize little by little how much we are like two peas in a pod, although you wouldn’t know it at first glance.