There are reasons why at times my interactions with people seem strained. I say the wrong things. I limp through my social circles, everyone making way for my awkward presence. I bring up subjects deep and poignant. I provoke thoughts, thoughts you’re not accustomed to. I speak in a way you find odd. My accent tainted, not pure, not from any one place. The same with my mannerisms. I fidget with my hands in a crowd, unsure of how to hold them. I wonder if the way I’m standing is threatening. If a purse is left close to me, I walk away, believing you’ll accuse me if something is missing. Trying to drive with a thousand choices that are made instantly, provokes these social swerves that seem ungainly and make others uncomfortable.
A meeting of the minds, a discussion of a very seriousness nature, is performed under the kitchen table. My siblings, a step-brother and step-sister, began the examination, the topic? Whether or not to call my step mom, mom. I wonder how many little men and women, are wrestling with so simple a task? Though simple, this important issue presses little minds. I never knew a mom growing up, that I can remember. This new “mom” was the closest I would come, and that not very close at all, to experiencing this miracle. Having made up my mind to commit to calling her mom, I began another difficult journey, actually getting out from under the table and initiating a conversation. My terrified frame shook as I mouthed the words I longed to speak. “mmm, ooo”, the first attempt resulted in utter failure. Recovering from this botched attempt, I spoke again, sneaking it at the end. “Can I have a bowl of cereal, (uncomfortable seconds of silence) mom”. “Mom”, spoken with a hoarse whisper. I managed this feat, however, the valiant gesture was to no avail in the end. She ended up torturing me, supporting my alcoholic dad, as I again hid under the table, regretting my vulnerability in giving her the privilege of calling her mom. So much is in that name for a child. All that courage to reach out, the last and final time, to call out for a mother. Not my mother, any mother. My cries went unheeded, my hope unrequited. That name now stays in my pocket, like a toy car, just a fantasy of what should be, what could be. Simple things my friends, simple things are so important. Remember that, mothers as you look at your children, whether or not they are yours. Remember, they need just a simple thing, like being able to call you mom, and know you are there for them.