Pondering the Pavement

May 8, 2015

One Mother of a Day for Two

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfilius @ 4:34 am
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Twice the Moms, Twice the Fun

10494314_sWhich came first? The chicken or the egg? The age-old quandary. Either point can be argued. There’s no doubt about that. And, honestly, I don’t believe either answer will ever fully win out over the other. Therefore I’d like to toss my own theory in the philosophical ring o’ fire: no matter which one it was I’m willing to bet that a mother was behind it. Mom’s always there, on some level, within each of us. So why should a chicken or an egg be any different? All signs point to mom, mother, mommie dearest, maw, mumsy… call her what you like but we all know who we’re talking about, don’t we?

As Mother’s Day leaps from the calendar once more, I can’t help but mull over my own mother and her own attempts at steering a nearly rudderless boat through a multitude of choppy seas. Being the mother of an anti-social nerd with a mindset bordering on the unexplainable would have driven anyone weaker to drink. Honestly, I don’t know how Mom got through it. She’s a gutsy broad who loves a challenge and, boy oh boy, did she get one in me. She herself has told me that, as a child, she wasn’t a fan of cartoons. Then her only child becomes a cartoonist. Who says God doesn’t have the wackiest sense of humor EVER? But she pulled it off with a minimum of gray hairs. If she had any nervous breakdowns she had the decency to have them quietly and without fanfare. I once asked her how she managed to not kill me during my teenage years of angst and agony. She simply replied dryly, “Fear of prison.” A wise woman. As the saying goes, “Patience is what you learn when there are too many witnesses.”

Upon reflection that often resembles that of a fun house mirror, I have chosen a couple of my mom’s parenting decisions that I rate as her best and truly wisest. Two moments, plucked from far too many to list, that truly stand out to me as life altering, as well as affecting, moments that helped make me who I am today (Now you know who to blame).

The family—meaning Mom, myself and my grandfather—vacationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia in the summer of 1975. This was our first big trip since the passing of my grandmother just over a year and a half earlier. Needless to say it was a bit odd for all of us. We were still adjusting to the absence of one of our immediate own. The film JAWS was released while we were in Virginia Beach. I begged, pleaded and groveled before my mother in order to let me go see this movie! I all but bribed her but, since I only got a $2.00 allowance every two weeks, I didn’t have a lot of leeway. “If you let me go see this movie now,” I’d say, “I’ll give you a dollar and then another dollar when it’s over!” And that’s how the Wolf of Wall Street was born. Despite throwing myself on the mercy of the court, Mom would have no part of it. “We’ll see it when we get home,” she ruled. Needless to say, I was livid. She was SO MEAN! She never let me do ANYTHING fun! Waaa Waaa and Waaa some more. I pouted, brooded and sulked like a paparazzi that just ran out of film. I’m sure my mother, on the other hand, simply enjoyed the silence. So, as ordered from the Powers Upon High, I waited until we returned home to see the movie that everyone, but me, was talking about.

Oh, Sweet Mother of God. Best decision EVER. In all of history, my mother’s verdict to not let me see JAWS in Virginia Beach ranks right up there with the decision of the first life form to crawl out of the primal ooze in order to walk upon dry land and the universal choice to end disco. If I had gone to see it while AT the beach, I would have NEVER gone NEAR the water again let alone actually IN it. I probably would have stayed on the boardwalk with my grandfather. Who am I kidding? I would have just moved into the backseat of Mom’s Dodge Dart and waited until we went home.

Well played, Mom. Well played indeed.

You must be wondering how she could top that flawless parental veto. “It can’t be done!” you exclaim. “Oh, yes it can,” I coo. And here it is…

My mother was always, from Day One, completely open with me about my adoption. I do not know of a time when I did not know I was adopted. She has told me that she talked to me about it when I was too young to even comprehend what she was saying (yet before my teenage years when I just tuned out everything she said). This simple act of honesty truly made THE biggest difference in my life. This seemingly simple act encompassed my past, my present and my future.

I doubt if I can fully explain the significance of this to someone who is not an adoptee. Little things like recognizing that you have grandma’s eyes to knowing the exact time of your own birth, are just run-of-the-mill snippets of your life that are rarely given a second thought. I was 33 years of age before I found out the time of my birth. I had always been told it was “around five in the morning.” At 33 I discovered it was 4:42am. Big deal, right? For me it was. I stayed up until 4:42am when my 34th birthday—the first after finding my birth family—rolled around. And I’ve met many adoptees who have done the exact same thing.

I was even denied the classic parental lament, “I was in labor for 18 hours with you, ya know!” The best my mom could offer up was, “I got writer’s cramp filling out all of those adoption forms, ya know!” It just doesn’t have the same effect.

Mom easily and effortlessly passed on what little information she had regarding my biological parents. Sadly, the bulk of what she was told, other than the name of my birthmother, was nothing but a tapestry of intentional lies and bullshit. To the state of West Virginia, I was not a human being. I was a product that needed to be moved off the shelf. It’s a wonder that I didn’t have AS SEEN ON TV stamped on my forehead.

Mom gave me all of the paperwork that she had regarding my adoption. This was the first time I saw my birthmother’s signature. Again, something that so many would take for granted. I remember running my finger over it, tracing the line of her pen, thinking this was my first connection with the woman who actually gave birth to me. She had, at one time, touched this piece of paper I now held in my own hands. Shivers went through me. It was finally real.

Less than two months after my 33rd birthday, I spoke to my birthmother for the very first time. Two weeks after that came the first face-to-face meeting and the first barrage of hugs, tears and, of course, laughs. Later that year, my mom hosted a dinner in the home I grew up in for the woman whose home I never knew. Mom played hostess—a roll she has always cherished—to a gaggle of my blood: my birthmother, three of my four siblings from her side, and four of my nieces and nephews. An undertaking that would be both physically and emotionally daunting for your average bear, but not my mom. For her it was just a celebration of a life long journey for, frankly, both of us.

I will tell you this, however… having Dueling Mothers at the dinner table is a bit spooky. I was half expecting to hear “Why aren’t you a doctor?” and “Why aren’t you married yet?” in stereo.

What stood out for me—and still does to this day—is a very small, nearly undetectable moment that I almost didn’t witness. The brood was leaving and saying their goodbyes. The siblings were all outside wrangling kids and insulting one another, as good siblings do. I was standing on the porch, just outside the front storm door. The Mom’s were on the other side of the door, in the living room. I glanced over my shoulder, looking at them through the mesh screen. My birthmother, Joyce, thanked mom for a lovely meal and, of course, my mother thanked her for coming. They hugged and Joyce softly said through tears, “Thank you for taking care of my boy.”

My mom, in a choked voice, replied, “Thank you for having him. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

Not a dry eye in the house…or on the porch, either.

As a medium, I am privy to some pretty amazing things. I have witnessed countless reunions and connections. I have seen love and humility come together in emotional bursts of light that defy description. But what I saw, and heard, that day truly ranks as the single most beautiful experience of my life. At the time, of course, I had no idea it was only a precursor to what I would observe along my life path as a medium. I often reflect back on that exchange during my own readings. My memory helps ground me. It helps me better understand what is taking place between the sitter and their non-physical visitor.

Spirit always utilizes the card file of memories in my head in order to help me better understand their messages, their intent and, of course, their never-ending love. And, I gotta tell ya, I love it when they bring that particular memory back up to bob around on the surface.

Even my mother’s decision to not let me see JAWS has its own place in the roots of my spiritual work. Spirit gives me what the sitter can handle and nothing more. Spirit passes along information and insight intended for the best of all parties involved. In the big scheme of things my mom was doing the same thing.

I guess you can say Spirit is just one big mother. Wait. That sounded better in my head…

Moms In Stereo: my mom is on the left and my birthmother is on the right.

Moms In Stereo: my mom is on the left and my birthmother is on the right.

I am where, and who, I am today because of the generosity and love of two different women (who eerily look alike, but that’s beside the point). One was brave enough to give me, what she felt, was a chance at a better life than she could provide. The other was strong enough to open her heart to, literally, the unknown, in order to enrich both of our lives. I, on the other hand, just sat there like a lump and bobbed through the waves.

I have two mothers. One is here, the other is in spirit. But, without a shadow of a doubt, both reside within me, my actions & thoughts and, most significantly, my heart. Because, as with the chicken & the egg, “Mom” is always a part of me.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom(s).

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