So I’m turning 24 soon and I figure: “That’s not too old! That’s promising,” and I think, when my mother was 24 she was thinking about marriage — making the decision that would end up becoming me. I appreciate the sentiment, I can say that straight out, but I can’t quite put my finger on what that sentiment is. It can’t possibly be love, at least, not yet at the time. At 25 she was carrying me.
I remember a friend of mine who is 27 (sorry!), and I think: “Where do the fun times go?”
An open question: Does anybody here remember his/her mother ecstatic? Do they continuously hide their joys from us because, after birth, they become mothers full-time and stop being people?
I don’t know what it was. Making the decision to have a baby at 24, that’s something. I’ve seen crazier things, yes, but that’s something. I think of my father at the time and he was 38 when they got married, probably 37 when they were dating. I wonder how it feels to take all of a promising person’s promise and breaking it?
Speaking of promises, I made a promise when I was four years old and my mother was on the telephone, crying. While she probably remembers this promise, she probably thinks that I don’t, but I do. I promised her that I would never make her cry. Either that, or I would always be with her. Sure, I allowed myself to be loose with the promise. I couldn’t be with her all the time, not in high school, no.
But she was 29 when I made the promise, I remember. I’ve forgotten which house that was in. We moved around a lot, but I do remember the room, the table, the telephone, the bathroom — crying in the bathroom. That’s when my mother became iconic, like, I can’t find a word for it. Sometimes, in the silly world of my brain I think that she will always be 29 and I will always be 4.
We moved around a lot because of broken things; family, for one — teeth, maybe, she is a dentist, after all. Looking at how I turned out without a father (most of the time, on weekdays), that was a good job patching up a few important cavities.
Going back, though, 24. This is it. This is when I start changing — the way my mother changed. Like, I know what’s gonna happen, or I’m expecting. What exactly? Something that comes along, ruins everything, then something sprouts out that promises happiness, or less sadness, at least.
It’s vicarious from there, from what I’ve seen. I’ve thought that maybe after 24, we’re not allowed to be happy for ourselves anymore. I’ll spoonfeed, forgive me: We’re only allowed to be happy for our children, and that’s great.
Humans were born selfish, and it’s hard to get over that selfishness — that’s what mother did wrong. Sometimes I like asking her to be more selfish, she’s been taking one for the team ever since. It makes me feel less guilty about thinking less of her happiness.
I was in grade school when I first learned this; when I would ruin her day with a 6/10 quiz. How old was she then? 29, probably, it’s the easy answer, careless again. When I would get a 10/10 I’d receive a prize; a 6/10 merits verbal whiplashing. That was my happiness/sadness. Her happiness was buying me the prizes.
Before you ask, you’re right. These are all fragments. Just an “essay,” broken into pieces like memories of the (there being a) family. Believe me, I wasn’t this miserable, at least not until now.
Is it that hard? Being 24? Being 29? Is that when you write your dreams down on a piece of parchment, sign the dotted line and classify them as inheritance? From everything I’ve read and from everything I’ve heard? No. It’s not supposed to be.
So then why? Rather, how did mother make that decision so early in life?
And I begin to think, I made promises (that I still remember) when I was 4.
And I begin to think, it could have been love.