I read this quote on my gmail homepage tonight:
"I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met."
-Marguerite Duras (French writer)
It gave me deliberate and disturbing pause. Enough that I didn't stop at just checking the email after feeding and bathing my four children and washing and folding the four loads of laundry that played accompaniment to our Monday afternoon. I came here. This depository of thoughts that I call rubble and which make up the angle of my repose.
Maybe it's because, as a mother, this felt particularly true on this particular day. Or maybe it is true because to a child whose mother never seems to give him his way or grant his every whim and yet hears her profess her undying love and devotion to him repeatedly--well, she is the strangest, craziest person. She is.
My mom was. When as a college student living at home on the hill, I would come home carefully (and so late). Pressing lightly on the brass handle of those heavy doors, inching it open and slipping inside hoping not to wake its sleeping occupants only to find there in the greatest living room in the world with floor to ceiling windows letting in all the night lights of the valley below a mom silhouetted against the still of it all. Weary-eyed and warm, she waited. I would slip down beside her as she spilled her worries all over my lap where they snuck into the pockets of my mind all the way to bed with me. There, lying down, I would empty them out, chew them up, wad them in tiny balls, tossing them high to hit the ceiling above me. When they finally fell back down, they became my own.
It would be dangerous if mothers weren't so wise. The mothers I know, at least. But in their strange and crazy wise ways their children come to own themselves, their desires, and their decisions. We feel crazy and strange grinding gratitude into our offspring. We grow so tired teaching. The infinity of it drives us. All. A little. Bit. Crazy.
Yet, somehow, after the "c", between the "r" and the "a" and crowding the "z" rests a smooth round pillow of sanity, which in the end helps us find the wh"y".