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To Ma

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I was baptized in front of you. I had my first child with you around. I shared a majority of my life with you for seven years. I don’t regret any of them. And though I never could be just what you wanted, I do love you, and would still defend you to anyone who had something negative to say. You were never just an in law. You were my mom, and from what I could tell you happily did that part and you did it well. I always think of you and what it would have been like between us, had I been lucky enough to have you as a best friend. We never got that far, I guess.

You may never respond to me or wish to talk to me again and that’s okay. You have that right. We were never very good at navigating these types of things, but I’ve never lied to you about anything. Not once. So I won’t do that now.

I just wanted to say what I never could. I haven’t always been patient with you, or kind. I could have done a better job at my part in our relationship, but Lord knows I tried. Lord, I tried. No other situation would have done so much emotional damage had love not been involved. I’m sure you feel the same way.

You may feel embarrassed. You may feel betrayed. You may curse me and hate me and believe I don’t and won’t ever know the pain I put the family through. You probably don’t even like me. You don’t, won’t, and if I was in your shoes I wouldn’t blame you. That’s okay. It’s not like I don’t already feel or know these things.

Even it was just for pleasantries, even it was all just for Garrett, I was more than grateful to feel as though I had a family for a while. I was happy to call you when I got sick. I was happy to watch courtroom shows on Thursdays when I spent the days with you. I was happy to know where home was for many years. I was so, so, grateful to finally have some resemblance of a family.

Thank you for everything. For Garrett, for the flexibility of Garrett’s job, for paying for me to keep my dogs. Thank you for being present in my life. Thank you for the holidays and gifts and birthday celebrations. And even if you were pretending as best as you could for the sake of Garrett. Thank you for that too.

I won’t hurt Garrett. I wont betray Garrett. I love Garrett too much at times, and I hope to be able to provide the comforts that you did in the same way for my own children, should we ever have them.

I just wanted you to know that nothing in those seven years was ever fake, though perhaps it may feel that way to you know. I love you. I have loved you. I always will. You’ll always be a mother to me. You don’t have to feel the same way about me. Nothing could ever make me not love you. The memories we share are enough for me. Somewhere deep down, maybe you’ll understand that I love you. Until then, I love you. Thank you. It’s as simple as that.

I hope you have a daughter in law who can love you just as much, but I doubt that because you’ve always meant more to me than I could ever show, and maybe you didn’t see that.

Goodbye for now, Momma.

-Carla Towns

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Categories: poems

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