A Rainbow for Moonbeam

It’s easy for me to be mad at a mother who isn’t around. But she is out there. I do have a mother and I always have. She’s always been a living, breathing human on the other end of my string, with a paper cup of her own, listening in as I send messages of love/hate/love/hate. It’s certainly not indifference that I offer. Not these days. And I am here to say: I do not hate her. I possibly never have.

Today, I am reaching within the well of myself to find compassion for my mother. I do not have to reach very far. Her face pops up on my computer screen at 10:33 a.m. “Happy to be back at work!” her digital post reads. My heart bulges. She tags me and fourteen other people, coworkers and my siblings. She is beaming. I cannot ignore it, nor do I want to, because just this morning I was stalking my mother’s Facebook page. I noted that she no longer listed her old job at McDonalds (a job she left, oh, maybe a year ago). I narcissistically wondered if that was because I live with an organic farmer and sometimes talk shit about McDonalds, possibly online. Was she ashamed?

Now, here she is in her work uniform saying “Just got off work n home from my first day back! Had so much fun!” and her friends—work friends— are all saying “We’re happy to have you back!” and “Yay Darlene!” and there is a name tag on her black polo Darlene and she has rainbow, a daisy, and a button that reads I Heart Port Huron on her visor. She is a person, my mother. She lives and breathes and decorates her hat. It almost surprises me.

“Feels good doesn’t it? Nice bling! heart heart” I tell her. I use two hearts for emphasis. I do not know how to make the hearts colorful. But I am proud. Four heart proud, but I don’t say it. We do not communicate any other way but Facebook. I must text my grandmother now and tell her the good news.

Every now and then my mother will post an image of a casserole dish.  Inside will be chicken enchiladas or a noodle mystery dish. I do not salivate. I do not yearn for my mother’s cooking. But I do feel envious—of the enchiladas themselves. I am always shocked in childish way that she had time to make enchiladas but not time for me? I am thirty one now. It’s time to get a grip. As a child, I likely internalized the intense emotions I felt when noting, for example, that my mother made long, dangling hippie earrings—several different sets of them. Colorful things that took so many hours of focus and dedication. These pretty colorful things had taken so much of her attention. She could focus on one thing—it could happen.

Now I’m the asshole who, about 2 weeks ago, likely when she was interviewing for her old job, posted a sob story about having no mother. Real actual mother meanwhile sitting down to a Pepsi and a cigarette (that is my memory of her but PEOPLE CAN CHANGE so maybe she was drinking a cup of tea) and seeing her hurt daughter yet again going on and on and on about her. She feels ashamed. She wonders if her friends from McDonalds—other mothers, no doubt, some with upset children, some without—will see what I have written and judge her.

She does not deserve that. Nobody does.

Since I posted The Thing That Revealed So Much, I got to thinking: (a) my mother did some things right and maybe I should write about those things more and (b) my hating her for leaving me is so anti-feminist.

I got to thinking:

My mother has a great personality—I mean she’s fun to be around. People agree on that.

My father loved her, and she loved him. And I have the coauthored diary entry to prove it.

My mother is well respected by her coworkers. She should feel good about that.

My mother is super human. That sounds like a super hero—and maybe it is. Maybe she’s just yet to really unveil herself and fly. Maybe I am super human, being her daughter. I know that I am.

My mother has overcome a lot. I mean she’s still here and kickin’.

My mother had a lot of pressure on her as a child. She was raised by a strong Southern woman, my grandmother, who has always asked me to call her by her first name instead of Grandma.

My mother maybe didn’t get the help she needed when she needed it. Instead she got babies. That is super anti-feminist. Women struggle sometimes.

My mother has very pretty eyes.

My mother never really got any help from the men in her life, it seemed.

I am an adult now, and I see clearly the struggles in life. How one moment we can be totally on-point, the other moment, well: Not. Just really fucking not.

I got to thinking:

I am unemployed. Now is the opportunity to learn something from my mother. “I had so much fun!” she said of her first day back at work. I really need that kind of enthusiasm.

I got to thinking:

My mother was sick, in the hospital. That was why she left her job in the first place. Did I send a card? I should have.

I got to thinking:

There is nothing more miserable than being sick, ill, or in pain. Being of healthy-body, I sometimes forget that. I should not. I really, really should not. I have a lot to learn.

I got to thinking:

My mother moved to one of the poorest economy’s in America a few years before the recession. She is a goddess for finding a job there. I should raise my mother to the level of goddess. She deserves it. We all do.

I got to thinking:

I really overdo it sometimes.

I got to thinking:

I made people cry (even men) at my last poetry event when reading about my mother and our relationship. It was really pathetic. And I brought it all upon myself. I vowed to let some of that go. And it did—it kind of up and flew away right there in the room.

I got to thinking:

I am obsessed with my mother, but it is really just an avalanche of repressed wants and desires from childhood (and especially) adolescence. I can viscerally remember pushing these feelings/wants “away” from me, little did I know they stuck around, like a monkey on my back. Like a backpack of feelings I just couldn’t leave anywhere.

I got to thinking:

I am still unloading the backpack, piece by piece. And I am So Sorry Not Sorry for the witnesses.

I got to thinking:

I would seriously like for my parents to know the deep well of love I hold for them both. If something were to happen to either of them tomorrow—well I would wreck myself with the knowledge of those last few things I said to them. And that is just not fair. I want to make this right. I am going to make this right.

I got to thinking:

The intention of my working through these things in writing is to avoid the subtle self-destruction that our mommy/daddy issues can have on us in life. My parents both have these issues. I mean they could both fill books with the things their parents did and did not do. They could do the same thing that I am doing. My intention is to fill books with words and not myself with toxic substances and people and thoughts. There is a reason I do this: I am sitting and writing instead of smoking and fucking.

I got to thinking:

I got to thinking so many things I started writing them down on post it notes and the backs of business cards. I started collecting notebooks, oh about ten years ago, and now have so many, both blank and filled, that I feel slightly disorganized and certainly a little overwhelmed almost all of the time. But I feel rich in words.

I got to thinking:

I started writing this essay at 10:33 and now it’s 11:44 so really one hour of cutting my heart open and letting it bleed is really not so bad. It’s certainly fucking weird that this is “what I do.”

I got to thinking:

There really is a lot of time in this world. And no time at all, it seems. Time to make amends. Time to make change. Time to waste. Time is relative. Are you in a prison or playing volleyball on a sunny beach? If you are in a prison, time will be slow. If you are on a sunny beach, time will be fast.

I got to thinking:

I dreamed I was in prison the other night. Or in jail, or whatever. It was utterly, absolutely the worst feeling ever. I hated it. I had NEVER FELT THAT WAY. I thought I knew but I DID NOT KNOW. I have been in jail before but WITH FRIENDS. I really had no idea: I think most people don’t. It was a sickening feeling. The fact of being guilty, well that is beside the point. It was inhumane. In prison, time is torture.

I got to thinking:

If I could, I would free my mother from this imprisonment and shame. She does not deserve that, nobody does: it is inhumane. I would, in a heartbeat, pass her the key. Out, out, out! I would insist. Do not let me, or anybody else, imprison you. In essence, I forgive you. I’ve just been trying to make sense of it: for me. For wholly selfish reasons. I neglected your feelings along the way, and I am sorry. Not cool.

I got to thinking:

Of an article I read many years ago (I’ll pull it up now for good measure). “Missing Mom” it read “found in Florida, taken into custody.” Wait what? Running away is illegal? Wait, no now, that aint right. A mom can leave. Dads do it all the time. This woman, once “a perfect mom” was considered dead after leaving her family. A runaway mom is a taboo in our culture. My heart swelled for this woman. I could be her. This is a feminist issue. I almost want to applaud my mother now for leaving.

I got to thinking:

My brothers got the best of her. And the worst of her: this human being.

I got to thinking:

I am far too hard on others (my mother, my father, my boyfriend). I need to soften. I vow to soften. Soften or die.

I got to thinking:

How many more hours am I going to spend in self therapy?

I got to thinking:

How many dollars have I spent on traditional therapy? Zero.

I got to thinking:

I can make it all better through my writing. I have that tool. I am not scribbling anymore, tearing the page with the point of my pen like when I was a teenager. These words that I write have meaning. These black lines and curves can heal.

I got to thinking:

There is only now. There is certainly not yesterday. There is a hint of tomorrow, but not a promise.

I got to thinking:

And staring at my mother’s photo. Her smile speaks loudly. Somebody, somewhere took it for granted at some point. First, I suppose, it was the mother who adopted her out. That kind of leaves this deep gash in a person, I believe. Whether folks like to admit that or not: it’s a thing. I think the gash was passed on when somebody possibly took my mother’s mothers smile for granted, too. And her smile spoke so loudly, so that just aint right.

I got to thinking:

We are all equally important. We of different colors and intellects. We of different degrees of guilt and shame. We of different opportunities.

I got to thinking:

The only way to heal is to treat people good now. With the knowledge that people get hurt and the hurt makes things worse and the pain and violence in turn get bigger. Me, as an adult for example, need to watch the things I do and say with children. They are watching. They will blame me, someday, for not being a better example. As I have blamed (I’m erasing that blame now and replacing it with understanding) those who were supposed to be older and wiser than me. We are all learning. We are all on a spectrum.

I got to thinking:

And staring at my mother’s photo again. My little brothers know her. They “get her.” They’ve lived in the shadow of her shame due to me all their lives. Me, her first born. Her perfect daughter. Blech. Even I know she doesn’t think I’m perfect. But close. Because I’m so mysterious. I’m like that out-of-reach lover. I’m like the grass is always greener. I’m like: enough. Enough already. Swipe the slate clean, mom. I step down from the pedestal. If I could say one thing it would be this: I might’ve done the same thing as you. And, I love you. 

I got to thinking:

Have I said enough already?

I got to thinking:

I need to stretch.

I got to thinking:

Of myself. Like we all do. Like we all should.

I got to thinking:

A rainbow for Moonbeam. Hope.

I got to thinking:

Say something that will let her close that door and move on.

I got to thinking:

Say something that will let you close that door and move on.

I got to thinking:

Say something, anything, to make it better.

I got to thinking:

Stop writing and start working.

I got to thinking:

Stop working and start writing.

I got to thinking:

Do whatever it takes to make it work and make it right.

I got to thinking:

Today is a brand new day. Make it even brand newer.

I got to thinking:

Hope. Hope’s just a word that maybe you’ve said and maybe you’ve heard but that’s what you need man and you need it bad. –Bob Dylan, Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie

I got to thinking:

The end.

I got to thinking:

The beginning.

103 thoughts on “A Rainbow for Moonbeam

  1. “They could do the same thing that I am doing.” That’s a powerful parent thing that people don’t always figure out as early as you have, if ever. It’s cathartic, isn’t it? And hey, I’m glad to see your apostrophes are figuring out where they belong. 😉

  2. I’m really very impressed! That blows my mind away. The style of writing is so creative and captivating in structure, in the repetitions and improvements. Thoughts runs! The content is so poignant, so deep, so authentic, that even I, who has never before come to terms with such problems, feels deep compassion. What thoughts torment a person like that? How does this happen? I assert, writing actual could be a therapy. I think about such things. It is easy to think about it, if you are not affected. I have no idea. I’m not authentic! Why did the mother break with her children? It was certainly not as easy as it used to be today. I am also separated from my husband. But I pray to God that it will be possible, that I can still be a mother to my children, who cares and is also present. My children are already in an age, that they soon go their own ways. Children do not need to suffer, just because the parents want to go separate ways. Because, if the parents agree that they make this step among themselves, the children do not have to change too much. I’m glad and sure, that I do not have to worry about it. My favorite sentence:
    “The only way to heal is to treat people good now. With the knowledge that people get hurt and the hurt makes things worse and the pain and violence in turn get bigger.”
    Put the pink glasses on, try to concentrate on the beautiful things, suck what you love, like a sponge and give it further … this means to me, beeing happy.

    The end
    I got to thinking:
    The beginning
    I am cured!

  3. “My intention is to fill books with words and not myself with toxic substances and people and thoughts. There is a reason I do this: I am sitting and writing instead of smoking and fucking.”

    Today I released my negative emotions on paper.

  4. Keep writing, your words help you release tension, learn from your own mistakes but they can also inspire others. That’s the beauty of sharing, of communication. 💕

  5. After reading about you and articles by you, I am so glad to meet you. Your writing style is endearing and compelling. Who named you Terah? You have a way of revealing your inner heartache without playing the “poor me” victim role. Good for you! I would love to give you a long, strong hug. However, since I live in Fl and you in Oregon. it will have to be thru sincere words. Your mother is the one who lost the most but don’t give up on her. Try to forgive her if you haven’t already. By the way, my name is also Darlene. I was named by my mother, who longed to be a mom, but died six weeks after I was born. Keep writing and enjoying your farm job. God bless you!

    1. My goodness! God bless YOU, Darlene. Your story I would love to know..

      My parents both named me Terah, they wanted a biblical name, but a unique one. Terah is Abraham’s father.

      By the way, everything you’ve said here….it means a lot. And I mean a lot. Thank you.

  6. Beautifully written ,in hindsight i never really did anything for my parents and yet hated them for nt focusing their time on me ,it is only now that i realise a lot ,i could really relate loved this post!!!

  7. Such an enthralling message to a mother. I’m glad there are people like you still around who wholeheartedly adore and appreciate their momma. Nice one, Terah. I admire your piece.

      1. When you decide to become one. Try with all your might to make sure that your child doesn’t struggle to love you. I’m a parent and sometimes we get right and sometimes we don’t

      2. My child will probably dislike me for one million different reasons, I am not perfect, parenting is challenging, life is challenging. Parenting is more challenging than most people think it is — I have, being responsible, chosen not to become a parent yet.

      3. I grew up in a household with both parents and I never knew who my mom was. She was distant. Make sure when you decide to have children that they never struggle to love you.

      4. You make an excellent point, its so true that some folks do have Mom or Dad around but still feel neglected. I’ve sometimes thought that could hurt much, much more. I am always naively surprised to hear of these instances, Brooklyn’s Corner. Thank you for bringing a new perspective my way, and thank you for your interest in my blog and story. I appreciate it. ❤

      5. “It’s a pity that potential, great parents always have the most doubts about whether they are good parents and irresponsible people fill the world with children.” That’s what my gynecologist told me when he asked if I was ready for the third child. Although I must say that I never asked myself if I could be a good mother. I had no job and it seemed right to get children. A third child just did not seem right to me.

  8. I read it a second time. It takes a lot of time trying to filter out all messages and meanings of your words. And the ones of the comments. But it is worth to take your time! I´m surprised, how much informations could be transfered by an individual history, for the purpose of other people. Despite the probability, that it may be overdo sometimes, it fits perfect. It seems to to have a familiar ring to everybody, everywhere in all points! If you take your time to pause, while “you got to thinking”, you will recognize all aspects for your own. Thank you again!

    1. Wow, noonespecial. You are very kind, patient, and insightful. I thank you so much for taking the time to study my work…that just amazes me. I really am honored by that. What I have learned about personal writing is that it is OK for me to “work through my shit on the page” and then let people see it. Not everybody loves it. I don’t blame them. But I’ve learned to never write to try to help anyone, change anyone, or sway an opinion. I just get so overrun with thoughts + emotions sometimes that I have to write. And then I guess I let people see it.

      Actually this piece of writing, surprisingly to me, served as means of reconciliation of sorts with my mother. Because we only communicate online via Facebook, I wrote this and posted it there. It definitely got the message through, though I worry about how much. It’s a little “too much,” but it’s all true feelings.

      1. ohh, this is very logical, and even better if you could reach your mum with your writing. I never thought about writing a blog. To be true, some weeks ago, I no even knew that such blogs exist…: 0…but well this seems to bea good thing to tell his feelings and opinion…I´ll think about it…thank you!

  9. Just loved what you have written. I can relate to quite a few things myself but its not that. wow. I admire how well you have written and how honest and truthful it sounds. Your “I got to thinking” got me to thinking!

  10. parenting is challenging, you´re right, Terah. But your responsibility and your intuition of not beeing perfect, would already be enough to be a better parent, than most of parents!

      1. hahaha…everybody is special and in same time nothing. Special for the people who love you. Nothing for the world. The important is the balance between nothing and everything for your own feelings of yourself…this is complex!Nothing for the world. The important is the balance between nothing and everything for your own feelings of yourself…this is complex!

  11. Thank you for writing this. I’m seventeen and it seems like I keep making mistake after mistake with my mother. I don’t know how to feel about it, and it was almost like, for just a moment, I let this piece (and you, I suppose) feel for me. Sometimes, when I see posts online about the wonderful relationships everyone seems to have with their mothers, I feel all alone with my less-than-perfect one. I guess I just wanted to say thank you, for showing me I’m not the only one out there.

    1. There is an entire tribe of us, Katie Bell! I am so honored to make you feel less alone in this struggle. Life has many beautiful moments mixed in with the bad….it’s…..complicated. Strange but beautiful, as they say! Thank you for the comment dear, I really appreciate it. ❤

  12. You are writing about your daughter but thinking about closing doors as an adult – closing a door is very final, someone or something has to have hurt me very much to complety close a door and then the door is shut bolted and thrown away the key. Personally like to leave it just a little ajar so from time to time can see whats going on and remind myself where i have been

    1. thank you thebluepolarbear for your comment. I tried thinking about “closing doors as an adult.” I have read it again and boooouuuummm!, I recognized, that you can apply this story not only on mother and daughter!

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