For anything as ancient as a nightmare

For anything as ancient as a nightmare, we need moms. Found this out the other night, waking up from a nightmare by calling out “mom” in my sleep.

the same mom, of course, that i’m currently in dispute with. whose emails and calls send me into paroxysm of rage and bitterness for days. not an exaggeration: it sometimes several days, even a week, before my anger subsides and i can respond to her in anything approaching humane terms.

my older son, too, calls out for mom from his bedroom as he wakes from nightmares. more precious to me is when he has not waked at all but calls out mom from his sleep. how precious is that, how aching, to be called to do battle with unconscious foes, whatever monster’s in his psyche, i am the one he would ask for to intervene.

but we down play, and usually, outright abandon this idea as we get older. we hate our mothers personally. and culturally there is only halmark cards to drag us back to some guilty feeling of owing this woman who can never be quite as wise or warm or strong as we remember.

i need to talk more about this pain, my distance from my mother and that ache it causes when i realize my boys will feel the same for me: that they will see me as a bundle of insecurity, given over to vice, a neediness that keeps reaching out, begging to love us in suffocating, restrictive ways.

i want to do so much better by my boys, and it’s an awful humility to know that it wont happen. it cant.


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