Written on January 27th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
There once lived a woman, in an age not too far removed from our own, who had not seen her children for sixteen years. The choice to leave them was her own. Her twenty year marriage to her husband was not a particularly healthy one. Jealousy, bitterness, rage, and a nagging feeling of nonacceptance gnawed at her fragile soul until it could no longer participate in such union. Her husband’s early drinking and philandering didn’t help matters either; he was a dog, in every sense of the word.
The normal rigors and obstacles marriage presents might have been better handled by the woman had her father not died during those early years when a child instinctively expects an over-abundant supply of nurture. She was only a year old when her mother was abruptly cast in the role of sole provider for a family of eight individuals. Nurture is not an option in a large family in serious survival mode.
Her life experiences - consciously realized or not - slowly mounted until the unstable pressure beneath the surface reached critical mass. It exploded and wiped out an entire family. This was the last thing she wanted to happen in this life, but she just could not stop it. It didn’t matter if she could see it coming. She just couldn’t disarm the bomb.
Her children were bitter, of course. They were forced to live their adolescent lives without a mother. The hand dealt to them was clearly unfair, and they were wise enough to realize they had never asked for it in the first place. The children were subconsciously content to embrace the resultant dysfunction as their own and they were poised to pass it along.
Then the woman came back.
Sixteen years, almost to the day, the woman came home searching for the children she abandoned. The children had all grown up and started families of their own by this time. Time was not a commodity they could cash out, even if it was to see their missing mother. The children weren’t exactly sure they wanted a mother! Sixteen of the most important years of a young person’s life is an awful long time to go without a mother. Why would they need one now?
The woman was stubborn. She refused to go away and railed even harder at the children with excuses meant to somehow ease the reality and truth of her past actions. The excuses missed the target.
The woman was unmovable. She didn’t help her cause by displaying for all her continued dependence upon the same old jealousy, bitterness, rage, and nagging feeling of nonacceptance that wrecked a home sixteen years ago. It was obvious that very little changed.
The woman was in denial. Everything was everyone else’s fault.
Then one day the children got together to talk. The sun was shinning bright rays. The birds were singing songs. Their own children were running care-free through the green grass of the youngest daughter’s yard while their parents were care-laden and collectively asking, “What should we do about this woman?” They were very surprised to find their original and bitter opinions changed by circumstance, time, and, most of all, having children of their own. They were still angry, but slightly less so than before, it seemed. Perhaps they all were simply tired; wearied from years of fighting invisible enemies. Maybe they were enlightened, a bit wiser? Maybe, just maybe? Whatever the reasons, the children somehow managed to surpass their parents in wisdom. The children found themselves playing the role of parent for their parents.
No one really knows for sure why those children laid down sixteen plus years of understandable bitterness and drove together to the woman’s house to simply tell her, “We love you.” They did …