Someday the Silence Will be Deafening: A Momologue
My sisters, brother and I didn’t grow up with the childhood ideal of having parents who acted as if they loved us. I am not saying our parents didn’t. Especially our mother…well, she must have. The day to day stuff of parenting was beyond them, and they checked out early on us. I say this today with regret and more than a little understanding of what these two people were up against. They just weren’t able.
My siblings and I, while far from perfect, did better for our children than our parents did. We love our kids and are able to say and show it. We’re there for ‘em.
There’s a Facebook posting popping up all over that amounts to a parent’s plea for understanding. We parents need to make one from time to time, especially when our grown or nearly grown kids go too long without letting us know how they’re doing. Here’s the gist of it:
My promise to my children…I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you…be your worst nightmare…and hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU….you will never find someone who prays, cares and worried about you more than I do….
Oh yeah. Truer words were never spoken, except they are words tuned to a frequency most kids can’t hear.
I had a grandmother who loved me more than she loved her own life. And did I honor that love fully, see or call her as often as she wanted me to? Nope. I was young and had lots to do. Besides, because she showered me with her time, love, and exactly the food I wanted to eat whenever I visited, I knew that just as the sun and moon inevitably rose at the appointed hour, Grandma would be there whether or not she heard from me as much as she wanted to.
Until of course the day she wasn’t because she couldn’t because she was dead. That thing we know happens to everyone – Death – occurred and there could henceforth be no more visits or calls.
Ten, twenty years and more have blown by. I have children and now grandchildren whose faces my grandmother never saw.
I search for her in the folds of the silence with which I am blanketed during solitary walks in the field by my house. I hope and I wait for a sense that she’s near. You’d think it would be always be easy, but some days are harder than others. Sometimes my connections - physical, psychic, spiritual, all of them - seem to be static-y or down. But there are times she is so near (and I, so alone) that I will start speaking aloud in words I know she’d hear anyway whether I said them or not. I break the unrelenting silence for my own sake. It has been how long since I last heard her voice? Twenty-three years as of May 29, 2012...about 4 o'clock.
My children are not near, and I don’t hear from them as often as I want to. I hound them, bother them, and hold them on the other end of the line with all the gentle force I can exert without sounding completely neurotic. I know, and Marc reminds me, that I don’t always succeed.
Note to kids of parents who love them: in case you haven’t figured it out, you will never be cast adrift, but don’t let that security lull you into thinking we ever really have enough of you. We don't tire of you, and we always want to be there for you when we honestly can be. You won’t have the kind of support we can offer forever, and we know this. We think about this a lot. It’s not weird; it’s part of our own life transition.
You may not realize it, though.
Whenever it’s been awhile, and you think maybe you should (you KNOW when), get on line with your folks, for crying out loud. As long as loving parents live, and ever after the release of their souls into the ether, they’ll push through every known and unknown obstacle to connect with you.
True story: Just after my grandmother died, I sat in my living room, thinking about her, listening to the grandfather clock tick in the silence and it suddenly stopped. I still get goose bumps remembering that and a few other occasions that I knew she was around.
Forgive us needy parents and grandparents, the first to fall in love with your beautiful face. We understand that we are not cool, we can embarrass you just by breathing, and God forbid we should dance with unbridled joy- or even on a social occasion - in front of you. Put up with it, because I promise you, beloved Child of any age, someday the silence will be deafening. And if parenthood should be your lot too, you will one day understand exactly what all of this means.