I will lay down my heart and I’LL feel the power
But you won’t, no, you won’t
‘Cause I can’t make you love me
When you don’t – Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin
I realized today another way in which I am like my mother. We both have struggled to get the people we love to love us, mostly without success. I remember how my mother so wanted the woman she thought of as her best friend to attend my wedding. I didn’t actually know the woman but it was mostly a celebration for my mother anyway and so when the woman said she would not attend, I wrote her a special note to beg her to change her plans and be there, telling her how much it would mean to my mother. Still didn’t come. I know my mother was very disappointed but what can you do when you don’t mean as much to someone as they mean to you?
My mother loved some of our relatives, always inviting them for the big holidays, wanting to spend time with them, trying to get them to travel with her when she was widowed. There were visits from them, accepted invitations but I always felt like they came out of some sense of duty and not because they enjoyed her company. She loved her grandchildren and knitted or embroidered or sewed gifts for them. And she gave them money as gifts and to get an education, a start in life. In the end of her life, that relationship became the 10 minute visit to pick up the check for the birthday or holiday.
I guess the thing is that my mother was like me: opinionated, sharped tongued, quick to anger. Loyal to a fault maybe but that doesn’t really matter when people don’t feel like they can easily spend time with you. I have spent my life chasing relationships with people, calling, writing, making the effort to visit while most people never return the favor. I told myself that they really did like me but I was the one who had to keep it going. In the last few years, I have stopped, stopped chasing, stopped calling and mostly stopped writing and the silence is deafening. I have my husband for company and so it isn’t as important as it was for my mother who was a widow for nearly 30 years. But today, with the realization that there is another point where I am so like my mother, at the time of year that she loved so much, I wish so much that she were here so I could tell he: I know. I understand. I have been there, too. I love you.