Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The stranger


What do you see when you look into these eyes?


This has always been one of my favorite pictures. I'm not sure how old she was ~ twenty something I'm sure. I see a pretty young woman with her whole life ahead of her. Full of hopes and dreams. Bursting with youth and energy and ideas. See the sparkle in her eyes? The power of being young. Notice that sly smile, as if she had a secret or two.... and I'm sure she did.
I look at her and I wonder what she was like when she was young. I wonder who she wanted to be. What did she plan to do. What did she want for herself. What did she want out of life. And if any of it came true. She had no idea that I would ever exist. She often talked about how she wished her life had been different. How she was too old to do anything or change anything. It was too late she said. I always told her it was never too late. Never.

Only now it is.

Sometimes I feel like I hardly knew her. To me, she was Mom. I saw her only as Mom. To everyone else, I don't know. Quiet is what she got often, but she was far from quiet. She yelled. A lot. As we looked through her things after she died, I felt she was a stranger. Lots of trinkets and such that we had no clue why she had them or where they came from. Then finding a wedding ring with another man's name engraved on it. And a letter only a few years old attempting to make contact with that same man.... And my Dad who just says, "oh yeah, she did tell me one time when I called her that she was getting married." He never - NOT ONCE - in over FORTY YEARS ever asked what happened. It just made me wonder who was this person. And how could there be so much I didn't know? What other secrets did she have? She didn't like to talk about herself much. How can you know someone your entire life, yet be left feeling like there was so much you didn't know....
Often I stare at her pictures and try to imagine what she was thinking or how she was feeling. This young woman is a complete stranger to me, yet I knew her for thirty-six years.
* I'm honored to say this post was selected as a Best of Holidailies.

1 comment:

Kitty said...

Beautiful post and such a shocker how much you didn't know about your mom.
congrats on best of holidailies!