Today I began the arduous task of cleaning out my closets and junk drawers in preparation for moving in with my Mom. I’d like to think of myself as a minimalist, but as I keep watching the piles of stuff climb higher I can no longer live in denial.
Most of the things I hold onto have some sort of sentimental value. A miniature Zapatista keychain I bought in Chiapas, Mexico, a newspaper article from when our student body went to the Save Darfur rally in D.C., an old phone number given to me by a friend written on a scrap piece of paper. The task of shuffling through all of these mementos can be challenging for me (being such the sensitive Cancer that I am). Most of the memories are happy ones, but they still bring a sense of loss at what was once shared and now has changed or shifted.
One of the things I stumbled across was a journal my mother gave me several years ago. It’s over twenty years old and one she started keeping when I was only two. It’s filled with important events and notes about my growing up until I was about six. I had not yet had the courage to read through it, knowing it would be emotional as my mother and I have not always had the best relationship.
Sitting on the floor surrounded by a pile of clutter I finally started thumbing through the pages. I found paragraphs about my third birthday, the trials of potty training, the arrival of both of my sisters, my first prayer I prayed for my Papa when he fell off the porch and scraped his leg.
I also found rumblings of the beginning of our discord together. The words below make me cry thinking of how long we have struggled to understand and mend our differences. My mother has not always been perfect, but I haven’t always been the perfect child either.
In six weeks I will be moving in with her as she buys a new house. Living with her will give me the opportunity to save money on rent while I am in Ecuador and put more money aside for future travels. It will provide her with company as she creates the first new home for herself since the divorce of my parents.
I am nervous for this new loss of independence and the challenges that will arise from sharing close quarters with my mom after years of being on my own. I know we will still struggle, we will adjust, create new and different boundaries, and somehow manage not to kill each other. Part of me is also hopeful that this time we will be able to heal some of the sore spots left from injuries created long ago that still leave their mark. I pray for patience and wisdom to love unconditionally the woman who gave me the life I so cherish.