There is a place in the universe where all good things converge. This condensation of goodness, and kindness, and boundless energy to put everything right, guides the lucky with an indominable spirit. The magical force doesn't come in a bottle or in a brown box to your doorstep.
The place where you will find the power to heal anything, and to steel yourself against adversity, will not be televised. That gravity which holds it all together isn't illusive, nor pressed between the pages of an ancient text. At that intersection of all great things, where we all work together to better ourselves, to help eachother, and to feed and nurture one another is a connective tissue unlike any other force in the universe. That place is your Mother — And we can go there on a two-wheeler.
Bad men don't sin from fear of punishment, Good men won't sin for love of virtue.
Whichever side of the knife edge you fall will depend largely upon your Mother. In fact your very character flowed into you from your mother like an I.V drip., and you never knew it. Sadly without a good one of those, or without a reasonably tight bond to Mum, you now lack character. When you meet someone, and later reflect positively about them, you are likely paying compliment to the home they came from. I have all sorts of friends like this, and some souls who sadly don't fit that mold at all. If you've ever been punched in the face, then the person who did that didn't have a good mom. If you've been sued, or robbed, then you can also surmise that there was something lacking in their relationship to Mom. What I would like very much to acknowledge, is the secret dendrites which stretched like branching roots throughout your developing brain as a kid, and remain the reason that you don't completely suck. What is most amazing in the Nature v. Nurture thing is that once you develop, your skill to be your best, or in the least a little less terrible, seems to stick. I know a lot of people who have been thoroughly saturated with latter-life crappy experiences, but they always seem to emerge through the same super powers imbued by their moms; often with some to spare. It's no surprise conversely that there are people who didn't have the benefit of a right-good Mom — and they became the daily tide we swim against.
Enter the asshole.
In politics, the misguided minority who's unnatural upbringing flood our daily dialog with every form of "Ism", are the unfortunate few who didn't benefit from a solid Mom. Many learned people and many more lay-public regard Freud as a dickhead. Treatises about strange attractions to one's mother may seem preposterous, and to resent our fathers for their relationship to mom is also far from a universal accord... But looking at it the other way, it may simply be that Freud had an unhealthy maternal rearing, which he never overcame. Freud, as with the bully-pulpit of political discourse, manufacture myths & agendas from misguided and dangerous ideologies. Racism, fascism, and sexism, all emerge from either an unhealthy relationship with one's mom, or none at all. You know the saying, 'I know it when I see it'? -- Well that certainly applies to Dickheads, Hitler, and Napoleonic douchebags with little hands. All of these infect the weak, and this may re-wire future generations, when toxin spills upon the “fairer sex”.
The only quote from Freud which does not seem absurd to me is, "If it's not one thing -- It's your Mother".
In truth, with tongue stuck in cheek, I don't know what he meant -- But for me, it may mean that one's mother has the attribution of being the single largest influence upon ones formation, and certainly one's psyche, and soul.
I was a teen, without an alarm clock, but without fail, my mother made sure I got up each day with a kind voice, instead of a brash beeping. She fed, clothed, consoled, and taught me nearly everything I know, and many unconscious things I am still discovering, and she did that for 7 others. From My mother, I learned to cook, shop, swim, sew, tie my shoes, brush teeth, and how to be kind. She also taught me how to care for others, and to be careful. Her techniques were always calm, considered, and cogent. My father is great, (no Freudian resentment here), but this too is likely attributable to my mom. She taught me to forgive and forget, and to seek only to control the faculties important to the task at hand. I learned that to complete something, presently, leaves more time later to address that which was less pressing. "We'll do that later...", she would say.
Through many recessions, we ate well as a family, (or so I thought), and very seldom did I think -- "Man I wish I had...'X'". We learned to shop, select, cook, bake, and portion.
Food at my home, at a picnic, or in my lunchbox, was typically the envy of others, and neighborhood kids would often skulk around at meal-time, hoping to "eat over". "Mom, can so and so eat over?"... was so common a phrase, but nearly never was the answer 'No'.
I could trade one home-baked snack in the school lunchroom for several cellophane wrapped Hostess or Little Debbie's. This was perhaps my first legit currency. Later, like most kids, I would become bad with cash, but with every trip to the store, I would return with change, and a receipt and then we'd count it out. I'd become thrifty by example.
One fateful Spring day, perhaps today, my magical Mom held the chrome loop behind my glittery banana seat until I coasted without falling or dabbing a foot. I soon learned to ride a two-wheeler down the block, and when too far to be assisted, I’d learned to ride it back toward her. She was proud, as she beamed, but I was taught again to be proud of myself. My mom handed me the keys to the kingdom that day, riding a two-wheeler became my first true sense of freedom to travel anywhere. She taught me to ride a bike, and like so many others, I’d begin to plan adventures. I was proud to be her son, and in a sense I’m still turning around and riding back to her today. I thought decades later, that I could teach my Mom the same tricks, that I’d learned.
My Mom mis-spent her youth in a body cast from a barbaric spinal surgery. She lay in repose while her sister envied the ‘attention’ she gleaned in recovery. She’d be wheeled on a table into the lawn to get some sun, until she shed her chrysalis. Time lost to doctors, and procedures, she never learned to ride a two-wheeler. One Summer when I’d returned from college for a few days, I brought with a new Bike just for her. It was a gamble, met with surprise, and trepidation... She was not feeling it.
Now topping 50, she’d harbored the nostalgic desire, but falling was not the downside risk she had always longed for. She said, "Thank you, I really love the idea, but I'm rather sure I shouldn't... I may fall and break my hip."
She contested that perhaps "she was just too old", or even "it may be too late" (for her to learn). I said, "I totally understand Mom, this was a lark on my part, and you certainly shouldn't feel obliged to ride a bike just because your silly kid bought you one". The truth being, I was broke, but working in a bike store for barely 8 bucks an hour meant that (even with a fair discount on a whimsical bike) this discretionary spending would decimate my pocket money. Never matter, I was home, the fridge was stocked, and expenses were low at the moment. I beamed with anticipation, while placating her, that “I still thought she'd like riding, if she found the courage”.
A few evenings passed through light sleep, and bundled anxiety from each of us. She went to bed with the pressure of her stupid kid's encouragement to break her hip, and I slept poorly under the anxiety of knowing I'd take the rap from siblings if my lovely mother did in fact find the courage to fracture her hip. As I stared up at the scars on my childhood bedroom ceiling, beneath adhesive stars, cuts from knives, darts, and scotch-taped posters.., I resolved to tell her the next day, that I agreed it was a bad idea -- And that she should definitely not try to learn to ride a two-wheeler ‘at her age’. The fact being that I wasn't even sure of her true age. With this resolution, I'd tell her not to try, I finally slept through the rest of the night.
The next day I slept late, (no surprise), but when I did wake up the house was empty. In my collegiate illusion, the day of the week meant nothing, and so I'd missed the Monday through Friday queue, as days blended. My Mom and Dad both beiing at work, I was the only kid home. I put my tacky foam avocet helmet on, Crocheted gloves, and some still gaudier neon-esque lycra shorts, with a concert T, and left for a bike ride. By mid-afternoon, starving -- I returned home to scrounge for food. The fridge was a wonderland filled with left-overs, cold-cuts, several orange cheeses, and bountiful condiments. I made a sandwich, drank loads of water, and watched some TV, while writing a letter to a girl.
When my mom came home from work, she was ready. She said she, “wanted to try to learn”. Initially, I was clueless what she meant -- Then it hit me... She wanted to have a go learning to ride a two-wheeler. I had my speech prepared, so I told her that I may have been wrong about the whole idea, and assured her that the bike was basically free, and would be re-purposed. "Mom", I said, "just because I like to ride bikes, doesn't mean it is going to become your thing too", Let's table it, and go to the beach. She declined.
I think I'd like to give it a try.
And so we started the same way she had with me nearly two decades prior. I held the seat, and ran beside, holding her upright, while she pedaled -- Until I let go and she fell into the grass. We continued, until the falling and the bruises turned from exhilaration to exhaustion. On the final try she made it down the alley, no hip broken. Whether she ever rode the bike again was of no import. I fetched some ice in a zip-loc bag, some bactine, and a few band-aids, and we rested on the same giant couch which like my mom had held our whole family together. "Today", I said with a childish smile, "You learned to ride a two-wheeler at 50 something". While she rested I made a delicious dinner, both of us thrilled & exhausted, we each enjoyed the first time, I ever really needed to tend to my magical mother.
The indominable spirit of Mom, to whomever she belongs, is the force in the universe which creates everything we are. They never stop inventing, creating, and overcoming; and neither should we.
Live your life as though your mom will be home soon.
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Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.