I made my Mom cry today

I’m on a road trip with my Mom, Step-Dad, and son…to visit my Mom’s only sister. About 9 hours of driving time. It’s close quarters in my car, but we are used to doing it together, and I grew up on road trips. I’ve always thought my Mom is a pretty awesome human being.  However, since I’ve split from my ex, she has shared more of what her own post-split journey was like.   I’ve learned it wasn’t so different from my own.

I mentioned to her that I started writing, but I’ve been pretty vague on the details. I worry that the more people I tell, the more there’s a risk that someone will let something slip. The world is pretty small, and I don’t want to be in a position where someone I don’t trust with these thoughts has access to them. But my Mom knows about much of what I’ve been up to in the last 8 months, and well shit, she’s my Mom. If I can’t trust her, who can I trust?

I decide to show her some of my stories…the Colleen ones are a good place to start. We’re sharing a hotel room, the four of us, so I give her my iPhone and she goes into the bathroom to read. When I come back in, she’s crying.

Mom? What’s wrong?

Your writing is wonderful. You should write a book. You are so honest and funny and expressive. If this is how expressive you are, I bet your sexual writing is something else. (Okay, she’s my Mom…she’s supposed to be my biggest fan).

But Mom, why are you crying?

Because this brings back so many memories for me. Of dealing with what you are going through. For having trouble with Theresa [my Step-Mom] after your Dad met her, knowing how much time she was spending with you. All those feelings I haven’t thought about. I’m so proud of you, honey.

As a kid, I never, ever, was put in the middle of my parent’s separation. Never a “you tell your mother” was uttered. This, in a situation where my Dad started cheating on my Mom when she was pregnant with me. She only said “we are done” when I was six years old, after she found a note from my Dad’s lover tucked under the windshield wiper of their car, parked in the driveway (who the fuck does that!?) Their breakup seems nothing like what I went through with my ex…there was no such drama.

Even in those circumstances, my parents wrote their own separation agreement without legal intervention. They decided on joint custody / parenting. All this in 1979. After my Dad returned from an 18 month stint in another city, they moved into the same co-op complex so that it would easily facilitate their week-on, week-off agreement.

My parents were an obvious benchmark for my ex and I, as we faced our own separation agreement. This in stark contrast to his parents, who split after over 30 years of marriage (6 months before we got married) and who still can’t be in the same room together.

I guess I never really thought about the parallels in our lives…but am so glad I’m doing her proud.

11 thoughts on “I made my Mom cry today

  1. Cars are like pressure cookers. Have you ever been in a proper argument with someone while on a road trip? It’s unbearable. There’s nowhere to run and hide.

    My family has my blog URL. I have to censor every word I write.

    The apple never falls far from the tree. It’s good so see you and your ex handling your affairs in such a civil way. My dad left when I was 15. (I think. I’m actually not too sure about the timelines of my youth. It’s all a blur, and not in the metaphorical way. I don’t remember anything.) That was that. I never heard from him again. It hasn’t affected me at all! Don’t you think?

    • So much to respond to in that comment…yes, fights in a car are unbearable. My ex and I had our share!

      That’s terrible about your Dad. Does anyone know where he went…and do you care at this point? Mine “only” left for work for 18 months after the split, but I think it scars you for life – a friend whose mother left said her therapist told her that when parents leave their kids at a young age, there is impact that you can never escape.

  2. Now that I’m married, I have so much more empathy with my mother when she decided to divorce my father. My mum and I shared a relationship of blame and misunderstanding, but now that I know what marriage requires, I understand what she went through.

    I’m so glad this connected you and your mother. Keep on writing! x

  3. I somewhat echo Nadia’s sentiment – now that I am unhappily married, I have so much more empathy for my mother…if only there was a way to tap into that when we were younger and use the powerful knowledge they have to impart.

    I so happy this brought you closer to your mom, every daughter/mom needs moments like that!


    • Completely agree – I remember my Mom telling me to be aware of what a potential spouse’s family (and family relationships) was like. I never really listened ot her. At 25 you don’t really believe that your husband will turn into his parents.

  4. I think that one of the reasons I stay in my marriage is from fear of what happens after i let go… Fear of him finding someone else… fear of him doing what he did to me to another… I guess I’m scared. His parents just recently split because his mom was caught cheating.. again. Mine are still together (28 years later) so I dont have much to go on.

What do you think?