The Other Mother
She watches mothers, constantly, and is fascinated by their sheer volume. She wonders if she will ever take up that much space again? She feels smaller than she used to, less a presence in the outside world, but more a presence in her own home. She feels dependent; on schedules, routines, the refrigerator, her child’s mood. She feels depended on for sheer life. She wonders what would happen if she were no longer here, and she worries about it. She knows kids can survive without mothers, but what about these kids? What about her kid? She wants to download all the information about her child from her brain to something else – just in case.
She watches mothers, on the playground, at the grocery store, and at school, wondering if they are even aware of mothers like her. What must their lives be like? She pictures their households, and pictures an easy life. Not easy as in simple, but easy as in normal. Are those mothers blissfully unaware of mothers like her? She reminds herself not to judge her insides by someone else’s outsides (she read that somewhere), but she can’t help but wonder what that normalcy must be like. Not normal in terms of her child being not normal, but normal in terms of just being a typical, average family. She gets lost sometimes in the added layers of complication of their lives; the trying to find the after-school activity that promises the largest chance of success for her child, the hope of her child finding a playmate that might become a real friend.
She watches mothers, and she reminds herself she wouldn’t change one thing about her child (he is perfect) save the chance to make things easier for him. It’s not that she doesn’t want him to learn the tough lessons, but rather that she wishes he didn’t have to learn so many of them. Where’s the equity? Why do these kids, already challenged, have to be challenged so much more? That’s what makes her cry.
She watches mothers, with a feeling she can’t quite describe building in her heart. It’s not envy, judgment, anger, self-pity or sadness. It’s distance. She feels on the fringe. She feels like her son.