This story is an excerpt from my 2011 novella, The Reality Wars
My Mother, the Rock Star
Kimberly Todd Wade
My mother was not intentionally treacherous. She intended to love me, but nothing was ever that simple for her. I’ve no doubt my mother had passionate emotions about me, worried over and even doted on me on occasion. She called the intense feeling she had for me “love.” But somehow she was able to put this feeling aside in order to do exactly as she pleased. She did not “love” me. Loving involves action. It is not an emotion. This misconception causes more pain and suffering in the world than any other. The act of loving someone may bring you exaltation or it may sink you in despair. Neither emotion is a stand in for the act of love itself. They are the products that have so unfortunately become bound to the word “love,” which is a verb. You cannot “have” love for someone, anymore than you can have “swimming.” You give it or you cannot rightfully lay claim to it. You love and you are loved. That is all.
My mother needed to demonstrate her “love” in grand fashion, and her grandest demonstration was a blowout celebration of my menarche, an event she’d not been present for, having been away filming a movie in Australia. (It was her first and last turn as an actress, her life notwithstanding. Neither the Oscar nor the Golden Globe was forthcoming; she wasn’t going to waste anymore time on that
.) She was either several years late or I was a late bloomer, sixteen, when we packed up the station wagon—we were traveling in cognito,
just “we two gals”—and headed southwest toward the shawoman camp in New Mexico.
We’d just turned out of the long, sloping driveway onto the main road, when my mother said, “Of course, I haven’t menstruated since you were born; the doctor took out my uterus along with you.”
“I guess you could say I broke the mold.”
My mother laughed with genuine glee. I could do that sometimes – make my mother laugh. She laughed easily. It was me who had lost interest. I had once cherished that ability to elicit it – her laugh – but I lost interest when I realized how fickle it was. One minute she was laughing for me and the next it was for someone else. I don’t even know if she missed my sense of humor, such as it was. I wish I could get it back.( Collapse )