Some say people immigrate here because of the health care system and its available resources. Others seem to think that non-American women marry American men only for citizenship. I've heard several mention that people come here to have babies so their kids can be citizens. Each time someone says something like this, I feel awkward. While any of that could be true, the speakers don't seem to take into account possible humanity in the immigration decision. How 'bout the ones who come here because they love someone? or those who come here to escape persecution? If you were somewhere else and you saw an opportunity to live a better life in another country, would you chance it? You can't know unless you do know.
My mom immigrated to this country about 40 years ago with a husband who attempted to divorce her around a year into their marriage and the first part of my eldest sister's life. My mother clung to this man as he treated her with little respect and even less compassion. She continued to become pregnant. Was birth control common in her scenario? Unlikely at that time. She was married. An immigrant woman. It was still legal here to take out your anger and frustration on your wife and children. She kept trying for a son. Three decades later, she would understand and commit to memory that sperm determines the gender of the child. My mom knew a lot and also fought heartily against learning new things, in some cases. She did what she could to support her children -- me and my sisters, and she maintained archaic views of women, marriage, and the meaning of life. I don't know... I keep trying to lead this post in the direction of, "I love you, Mom," and I also feel so completely distant from her at this time. She acts cruel. My internal mother is currently uninterested in my external mother. I respect that she carried me for nine months and then did what she could to raise me. She did not show me much empathy or compassion beyond that which supported her image to others. Our bond is vastly a void.
Mother's Day is today. I said something about Mother's Day to someone close to me. He said, "I call it Sunday." Dry and subtly antagonistic. That's how he appears to feel about his mother. I'm still figuring out how I feel about mine. Naturally, I love her. She also limited me with her logic. Her ignorance hurt me when she felt angry. It was an emotionally barren childhood with that woman. Any compliment directed at me she would absorb with credit to her motherhood. She ignored the complaints. Any accountability directed at her became deflected with obfuscation. And my father left me with her then visited once or twice a year for a few years, then dwindled off to not much at all. Oh, he did a lot for me, in some ways. He bought me soaps and audio compact discs when I lived with him and he traveled overseas. Later, he used his frequent flier miles to purchase flights for me. I asked and my dad said yes to trips in which I saw Lake Louise on a bicycle trip, a beach in the Philippines, Asian gardens in Singapore, the Florida Keys. When I consider it now, I observe how my dad did stuff like buy me things and didn't do stuff like spend enough time with me. My mom didn't really see much of that. She focused on her 12-hour shifts so she could support herself and me along with the minimal amount my dad passed along to us. As soon as I started to work a job, I did what I could to contribute to bills: phone, utilities, my own car insurance, fuel. Gah, it was a stressful upbringing. I knew too much and too little at the same time. Hats off to my mom and me for making it work for so long. A nod to my father and me for continued interest in relationship.
In my life, I like to lead classes and it also exhausts my being. I often like to be alone, thinking my own thoughts and exploring the world, art, a new topic. When I perceive that anyone is in any way limiting another being, whether it's a parent who limits a child with the parent's logic, or a child who limits an animal's adventure by the child throwing rocks at the animal -- I feel a lot of injustice. In my previous post, I explored some of the questions that I have about how much to voice this sense. How much do we mother and parent ourselves. What do we tell ourselves to do. How do we manage our personal expectations, our emotions. This is internal motherhood.
Well hello there.