This, “I want my mother back” by Lisa Solod in The Broad Side is a wonderful essay on loving a very complicated mother.
I want my mean, bitchy, drunk mother back. The mother who was depressed and melancholy, who said cruel things about my work and criticized my parenting, who undermined instructions to my kids by saying, “You really don’t have to pay attention to her.” I want the mother back who invited herself to my first apartment and then pitched screaming fits in the streets of Boston. The woman who threatened to pull off my arm and beat me with its bloody stump. The mother who said that if I told her she wasn’t a good mother she would kill herself. I want the mother back who came to my college graduation and could barely stand for all the scotch she’d had. The mother who took to her bed for weeks. The woman who stood eating supper in the kitchen because she couldn’t bear the meaninglessness of the family dinner table conversations.
I want her back.