I went to visit my parents on Mother's Day
this past Sunday. My mother is no genius
, but the older I get the more I realize that she is a lot sharper than I would ever like to admit. Especially when it comes to knowing me and who I am. In that regard, she's an Einstein
Mom has known me longer than I have known myself. While I am male and cannot possibly empathize with the magical, scary, wonderful experience it must be to enter motherhood, I sometimes wonder if she knew things about me before I was even born. I am pretty sure she must have. I think maybe all mothers have a subconscious bond with their children that begins during pregnancy; an understanding and communication that occurs on deep levels that none of us can ever fully comprehend. But we know it's there, because we feel it. It transcends love in ways that evoke an epiphany of a sixth sense.
When I was little, I quickly learned in many ways that I could not fool my mother. Of course, being a curious, bright and resourceful child, that did not stop me from trying. Still, she never failed to root out the truth, and while those lessons should have carried over into adolescence, somehow they did not. Like many teens, I was a pathological liar to my parents. It wasn't that I was constantly trying to cover for some perceived wrongdoing or mistake (barring one; more on that later), but rather that I was seeking independence and wanted to put as much distance as I could between the realities of my own difficult, inscrutable development and my parents' omnipresent guardianship. I didn't get away with much; somehow, Mom always knew what was going on.
Now here's the really interesting part. I didn't realize this at the time, but Mom didn't always act on her information. Sometimes she was aware of things and chose not to confront me about them. Sometimes it was just intuition, and she was unsure of how to react to or deal with the situation. So she would worry, and rather than holding it in until she burst, she would express her worry in a variety of ways. I always thought my mother was being irrational or silly with her fears and concerns, but time has given me new insight into her motherly behavior. In the back of her mind, she saw more than even she was willing to admit. Her gut feelings were usually dead-on, but she was smart enough to know when the outcome was something she could influence and when it wasn't. And sometimes this happened to her on subconscious levels that she did not fully recognize.
I remember vividly that one afternoon in my early twenties when I finally came out of the closet to her and told her that I was gay; the biggest secret of my life. We were alone in the house, and she took the news a little harder than I thought she would. In my efforts to try and back off a little and comfort her, I said, "Aw, c'mon Mom, given everything that we've been through, I figured that you kind of knew all along." And as she sat on the bench in the kitchen holding her head in her hands, she replied, "Yeah, I guess maybe you're right. Maybe I did. I just didn't want to face it." And can you believe that I was surprised?
Here's a wake-up call to those of you who haven't figured it out yet: Your mother is psychic. She might not be The Amazing Randi, but she's got the goods on you whether you like it or not. Even if the woman you call "Mom" isn't your biological mother, if she raised you, you're an open book to her - and she's read ahead at least a chapter or two from where you are in the story.
Chalk up another truism for Homer Simpson: "You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life even if you had an electrified fooling machine!" And I want to see that written a hundred times on the blackboard before the bell rings, Bart!