I’ve been thinking for a long time about what I could write here, what I could share with the readers of this wonderful blog. I decided that I would write about something kind and touching.
What is the perfect example of kindness and touching? That’s right: it is a motherly love. Our mothers are real heroines and unfortunately it’s a pity that sometimes we realize it too late.
All my life I had a complicated relationship with my mother. To say that she raised me strictly is not to say anything. If I was allowed to do something, I was not interested in that “something” at all.
My mother tried to protect me from everything that she saw as potentially dangerous, and I grew up to be a very risky guy, which did show up in my behavior from time to time. Secretly from my mother, my schoolmate and I did some desperate things that I regret now, after all these years.
Of the most “wild”, I remember trying to walk over the parapet of the bridge and riding a sportbike. However, I was also banned from much less extreme activities, like going with friends to a kebab shindig. Why? I am at a loss to say to this day.
My mother would not allow me to keep any things from my childhood, from toys and clothes to baby pictures. Toys and even good clothes were given, according to my mother, to my younger companions, and photos mysteriously disappeared to an unknown destination not long after they were brought in a printer-smelling bag from the photo studio.
Not only that, I don’t remember my mother saying a single affectionate word to me, even when I was very young. We did not have an openly hostile relationship, but I did not feel any special warmth either. Rather, they were cold and detached. And that, of course, depressed me the most-so much I wanted warmth, care, but I ran into a cold, stale wall.
Although I had to hand it to my mother, she would stick up for me when I was too old and inexperienced to do anything to defend myself. But if she felt that I was capable of solving my problems on my own, she would give me complete freedom of action, removing herself from my problem.
It went on like that until I was sixteen.
When I was seventeen, my mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer. I tried to help her as much as I could, but none of the medications we could get at the district oncology clinic worked. My mother was fading before my eyes.
One winter evening, when she was already very sick, my mother called me over to her and handed me a postal envelope. Then she whispered:
– “Open it when I’m gone”;
– “Oh, come on”, I tried to reassure her. “Everything will be all right” (The doctors didn’t tell my mom how bleak everything was, they tried to reassure her that everything would be all right soon.).
– “No”, mom shook her head. “I feel the end is near. Keep this envelope. Open it when I’m dead”.
I nodded silently, wished my mother good night, left the room, and forgot all about this conversation.
Three weeks later, in early February, she was gone.
I’ll never forget how we buried her. I was the last one to go to the coffin, kissed my mother’s wax forehead, and burst into tears like a little child. Suddenly I realized how much I loved her and how much I would miss her now, no matter what. My mother’s sister hugged me, promised to help in any way she could, but I did not see or hear anything.
Workers were filling in the grave, frozen lumps of earth rattled on the coffin lid, and my mother’s words echoed in my head: “Open it when I’m gone”.
When the wake was over and my mother’s friends had left, leaving me alone with nothing, I took the envelope from the cupboard and opened it.
There was a note in it:
“Son! Go to the cottage, in my room, remove the carpet from the floor. Some of the boards are marked with oil paint. Clean them up and go down to the basement. You’ll find a big box there. Open it, there’s a surprise for you. I hope you like it. Mom”.
I took the train to our old cottage, snuck across the snow-covered lot to the cold summer house, entered my mother’s spacious room, picked up the faded old rug from the floor, and saw traces of black paint on several of the floorboards. I did as my mother had asked, went downstairs with a flashlight, opened the drawer, and was dumbfounded. There was a pile of my childhood clothes, my favorite toys, a separate pile of pictures…
At the bottom of the box was another note:
“Son! You’re a little over a year old now. Today I divorced your father. He’s a good man, don’t you think, but his weak character keeps me going. He was never able to be a real father, responsible for himself, his family and his actions, he never grew up. I couldn’t take any more of his childish antics, I’m sorry. I might be too hard on you, you might even hate me, but believe me, I only want what’s best for you.
I don’t want to make the same mistakes that his parents made in raising the boy to be a big-headed, squishy brat. I will try to raise you to be a real man, a protector, and to teach you that life is not all fun and pleasure. Will I succeed? God knows… But I’ll try. I will try very hard.
Your loving mother”.
Many years have passed since then. I’ve rethought a lot of things in my life. I realized what real motherly love is. I understood why she was like that. And my love for my mother has only grown over the years, and it no longer feels like she went overboard with her parenting measures. But I’m afraid that I won’t be able to raise my children as strictly as she did.