Today I received a book I requested from the public library that reminded me of you. It’s called What my mother and I don’t talk about: Fifteen writers break the silence . Because you died before I realized the things we never talked. The things I know now did hurt you but then I didn’t realize why.
I remember your obsession that I needed to do some sort of catharsis and reconcile myself with you. I didn’t quite understand why I had to restored our broken relationship since ours was not broken. I always found you a very good mom with a balance to give me freedom without leaving me unprotected. Why did I have to make peace with you if we haven’t fought? You always feared you would die and I would not have have the chance to reconcile our differences or maybe forgive your mistakes.
When I had children and went to live overseas, I acquire a distance that allowed me to see you with a different lens. I began to see some of the mistakes that children see in their parents. Those flaws that started to exasperate me. When you visited us you always wanted to help me and I always said no. Even one time you recriminated me and asked Why do you never accept my help, why? I don’t remember what my answer was. In the end when you stayed at our house, you managed to find a way to help me by cleaning our closets, and putting away the children’s toys, but above all by playing endlessly with your grandchildren.
The first week of last February, I had the great opportunity to compete along with your granddaughter in a bicycle endurance race in Florida. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it, both for the physical effort (350 miles in 4 days) and the beauty of the landscapes, as for what I learned about me, my daughter and you, and most importantly, our relationship. Mati was the same as me, and me as you. Every time I offered her help during the trip, she would answer me with a sharp no, and she would tell me, you worry about changing your clothes and eating. I didn’t really care that she told me that. She was absolutely right. I was unable to do much more after 80 miles biking through sandy roads, swamps and wooded trails and up and down endless paved slopes with the midday sun on our backs. But I did find the reason for my sharp refusal to your offers of help.
When we are young we move with agility, with haste and thousand things to do and ideas in our heads. We are on the run with the minutes counted to begin our next project. And if a mother interferes with them, the steps or multiple stages become endless. You have to have the patience that you acquire over the years to put up with someone else doing what we can do in two minutes. Matilde could set up the tent, boil water, change clothes, lay out our sleeping bags, prepare food in her gas stove and change clothes at the same time that I just took my socks off and hopefully I had put on dried sweatpants to sleep on. If she would have accepted my help we would have died of cold and probably she would have abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. It was in those moments that I realized why I didn’t accept your help. Because I could do things faster than you, and I didn’t have the patience to slow down.
Now that I understand you, I am sorry that I could never talk to you about it. I am glad though that thanks to you, I realize that my daughter doesn’t want to hurt me, that it is only part of life, growing up, being young and old. I was lucky enough to spend with her four intense days in which we talked about it and I told her about my discoveries.
Thanks to you mom, I can understand my daughter. You and me did a good job after all, so will do Matilde. That´s why I am writing it to you. If I didn´t, it wouldn’t exist.
Un beso y abrazo apretao, gallo pelao (as you told my children).
La quiero viejita. No se enoje que haya escrito esto en inglés, pero como todo en mi vida, estoy haciendo un reto, esta vez de escritura.
Su hija que la quiere mucho,