I am about the age my mom was when I started noticing her as a person, not a mother or a wife or a soccer mom. But as a person.
She was 38-39. It was around the time of her 20th high school reunion. We’d returned to Michigan for a summer vacation combined with the reunion. The band was back together and I had the very distinct feeling that they were grownups. Old. They sat around talking about the gold old days, things that had happened 20+ years ago. For a week she flitted back and forth between the worlds of our Mom and Marti Drake. We saw a different side of her that summer. But also completely, totally, absolutely off our “schedule” and “routine”.
It was disorienting. I think I was going into sixth grade, so it felt like things were changing.
I know intellectually, that things in our house weren’t easy. While we didn’t as a family talk about family finances, there was a sense that my parents had to work hard to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. The ten acres where we lived housed a dozen Arabian horses, the remnants of my mom’s failed dream of having a horse ranch. Turns out the only thing more expensive than having a working horse ranch is having one that doesn’t work.
It couldn’t have been easy trying to raise the three of us kids with my dad. Long hours on the roof all over Florida was likely the easiest part of dealing parenting with him. But that wasn’t the whole of it…frankly my dad, introverted to the core, has never really been into typical family and house stuff. He couldn’t be counted on to pick any of us kids from school or soccer or yearbook. And this was back before cell phones, I can imagine Mom not wanting to rely on him to do pertaining to us kids.
But it’s not like Mom was the Old Lady in the Shoe, with so many kids she didn’t know what to do. Nicole and I started feeding the horses when we’re in 2nd and 3rd grade. We did a LOT of chores; cleaning and cooking. I mean, it was probably nice to come home from work to your two eldest daughters who had fed the horses and made dinner.
And while she absolutely did weary work (in a daycare and later running small restaurants/cafes, I just don’t remember her being tired all the time.
Like I am.
Maybe she was. Maybe she just didn’t talk about it. Or maybe our evening routine, having dinner and watching TV was the result of her being worn out from having to deal with people all day. Or having to deal with kids all day.
Things were different… we had 6 channels of TV, so its not like my mom ever accidentally stayed up till 1am binge watching anything. She didn’t lay in bed scrolling through feeds watching people fight on the internet. She likely didn’t feel rage about injustice in the world, of immigrant kids being kept in cages, or presidents making an absolute mockery of the country. It was just different.
Tired just seems to be my default place now.
So its weird, thinking of myself in the context of my view of my mom’s parenting. Its strange because I don’t remember her being tired all the time. But I am tired all the time. So am I an adult? Is this what being an adult is?