Time Warps

It began with thoughts about time warps. This is a human phenomenon that catches the time traveler in a particular age or status. Parents, like my mother, do it instinctively all the time. Their child never grows up, and for most parents, this time warp age lies between five and 12 years for girls and slightly higher for boys.

The child is forever trapped in a thought bubble devised by the parent who is their primary care giver. You are forever 12 years old and you will be treated as such.

For example, the adult decisions that you might make seem foolish and inappropriate. Sometimes parents dismiss these decisions as down right stupid because, after all why would a 12-year-old buy a house? It’s ridiculous. Or why would a 10-year-old give birth—preposterous. Drive a car? Work? Travel? Vacation? Shop? Really anything that “grown ups” do? Crazy?

So when the son says something like, “Mom, I’m thinking of buying a house, settling down and starting a family,” the primary caregiver stares in wide-eyed wonder and is genuinely concerned about that son’s mental stability.

In reflecting on this phenomenon this morning, I realized that we children do the same thing to our parents. Take my relationship with my mother for instance. While brushing my teeth, it occurred to me that I was missing the mother/daughter relationship I used to have with mother. She will forever be 79-years-old to me.

Seventy nine is the last appreciable age that I recall having a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship with mother. We became prayer partners. As hokey as that seems, it was the most reasonable, natural thing for us to do.

In 1999, I took a 6-month leave of absence from my job to recuperate from an injury and while laid up, I decided to study the Bible with vigor and enthusiasm. I was being reborn. I needed an anchor and mother was that person.

She knew God and trusted him completely and her prayers, although very simple, were very powerful and she seemed to have some invisible hotline to heaven with her supplications. We became prayer partners.

Each morning, we routinely shared our experiences from the previous day, a profound scripture or two and exchanged prayers for ourselves and interceded for others.

I miss so much that woman, and in my reflections I realized that one of the reasons for missing her so much is that she always had wisdom and advice for me, though I usually decided not to follow it. But mother’s words had weight then, and do now.

I learned to measure and treasure their value a long time ago. So now, when she talks incessantly, rambling on about usually dead people or other crazy notions, I’m still hanging on for dear life for those precious nuggets of wisdom and insight that I secretly know have slowly eroded with the passage of time.

I can’t yet let go of the need for her words of encouragement, wisdom and love. They molded who I was then, and guided the outcome of who I was to become now in specific, personal ways.

So when she calls me fat, I go on a diet; when she puts me down, I seek counseling to become a better person; when she questions why I have a cold, I don socks and gargle irrationally with baking soda. Either way, I am simultaneously crippled or emancipated by her words, her opinions, her acceptance, her respect and most of all, her love.

The writer must write, and i have done so.

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