More and more I feel my mother's presence. As I wash the dishes or prepare a meal I feel close to being able to see through her eyes or what it might have been like to see through her eyes. I understand her more when I can compare my life to hers.
I understand why she would stay with my step-father even though I hated him: It's hard being alone. It's hard to be the strong one all the time. It's hard to be always focused on bills and work and what direction I want my life to move in and having it together. It's hard to want a loving companion on the wheel of life and feel a suitable candidate isn't in the shadows. It's hard to sleep alone when I want the smell of that one strong man beside me. Those days that I want to admire a man's physique before I touch him can't always be alleviated by going to sleep.
Imagine going through all that as a single mother? That's why she stayed with my step-father.
I always believed that she could do it on her own but she just plain didn't want to. Unfortunately the man she chose didn't have the ability to be a full fledged companion.
That is my biggest relationship fear, to be with someone who hasn't the capability to love me fully. I fear that I will give myself to one person who will ultimately betray me in the worst of public humiliations.
I've never felt as lonely as I've felt in relationships although I did learn my own capabilities. With Jeff, I learned that I could forgive if I believe that love was real and that everybody makes mistakes. With Kevin, I learned that I could be the sex kitten in the bedroom and an intellectual equal in the daylight. I also learned that I could survive the crushing heartbreak of losing the man I thought I could marry. The recovery time took me five years, mind you. With Jerome, I learned that I could wait for a man to sew his wild oats. I waited long enough too until I discovered that those wild oats had multiplied exponentially like weeds that thrive the moment you pull them out. But after Jerome I was blessed with Kevin.
In my rush to be an independent woman seemingly unlike my mother I discover that I want that one man I can depend on. I want that unspoken love that is comfortable, sexy, fun and reassuring. My mother settled for as close to it as she believed she could get or more closely what she believed she deserved.
How close to it - to what we want - can we reasonably expect?