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To My Mother On Her 56th Birthday


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Mother:Happy Birthday. I am everything I am because of you.*****A generic comment I have heard a million times:“You are so much like your father.”My reaction:{Outward} Haha, yeah. You don’t know how many partial telephone conversations I’ve had that end with ‘Oh, shit, I thought this was your dad.’{Inward} I am smiling because I know that I am my mother’s son’s best impression of his father.*****When we talked last week, you said, “You love me, but you don’t like me, not really.”Well, first of all, of course I love you, mother. No matter how often I say it, I say it too rarely, and I sometimes worry that it comes off as flippant, perhaps as my half of the ritualistic exchange between parent and child, the words just words that fill the space they have filled since we were taught where they go, unexamined, before we are capable of understanding what they truly mean. But I do love you, mother, and sometimes when I am feeling alone and untethered, I close my eyes and I am filled with an unbearable lightness – I will float away I will float away I will float away I will float and float and float until and I am not here and I am scared and I will never be able to get back. It is, and has always been, my family – a great shining impossible beacon – that allows me to reorient myself and find my way back home. *****“…but you don’t like me, not really.”There was a time when that was true. Our relationship was painfully tense for a time, something I expect is true of many such relationships, though I believe, in our case, the friction in our relationship was borne of common circumstances –the parent must be hard, and the child does not like being told no – but exacerbated by unique ones. The easy answer is the first one, and the one to which we always pay lip-service: “We’re so much alike.” We are very much alike, mother, and when we say that, I think we mean something superficial and simple: we are critical and opinionated, both aggressively pessimistic and cynical because optimism is heavy when it crashes, and if we can keep our expectations managed, surely we will never be never be never be disappointed again. When I was younger, I did not like you very much. I resented you. I thought you were harsh and unfair. I thought you just did not understand. Every y ear, though, I realize more and more exactly how much you did understand. (I have asked myself, “how much of herself did she see in me?” And I have asked myself, “did that scare her?”)*****When I was younger, I did not like myself very much. I resented myself. I thought that was unfair. And I did not understand. Every year, though, I realize more and more how much that influenced our relationship. For me, the terrifying and hateful and paralyzing thing was: you, more than anyone, understand me. You see me. When I was younger and uglier, I hated you for that, mom, but, no: I really just hated that I was unable to hide from you. We are too similar to hide from each other, mother, and until I became a person who can look in the mirror without cringing, I was always going to hate you for seeing what I could not suffer to see. *****I love you for not allowing me to hide from myself forever, but as a result: I like you now, too. There are just so many things you and I can discuss that dad will never understand. I could attempt to list them, but it would be a waste of time and space, and you might argue with me. Just know this, mother: when I talk about myself – me, what is happening in my head – I come to you because you understand. I like that. *****I am the most extreme parts of my parents’ personalities. I am my father’s gregariousness and his jokes, his charisma, his love of stories and people. I am my mother’s tempered reason, her ability to see and understand. I am my mother’s love of words (without which, I should point out, this letter would not exist). But more than anything, I am my mother’s struggle. I am my mother’s self consciousness. It is for these last that I am most grateful, because the best of me is in my head, quiet and raging, fighting and struggling and searching for meaning. Without that I would be lost.*****Without you I would be lost.I love you,Your Son

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Dearest Wang, I cannot tell you how much this means to me. I do know you better than you can imagine. I have been reading your posts on this internet since: the day you first showed me how to use the emails. Reading about all of your relationships here I have always felt somewhat responsible for the way they work out. I know, it's not entirely my fault, but I feel responsible. I never thought the day would come when you would address me directly. Thank you, Love Mom

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wbp: blah blah blahwbpm: I prefer mombrv: must be the wireme2: huh?brv: I said it must be the wireme2: I understood what you wrote just not to what you're talkingbrv: huh?strat: well at least you showed upSB: shakespeare could do a whole lot in just fourteen words. or something like that's creek: now I really want to go back to undergradbeans: sooooooooooooo badshane: he's more of an AC/DC guyEl G: didn't he die at the end?gov: I never saw that movieJoJo: you really are a heelme2: well I do have a 39 1/2 foot polenikki: but no boobsme2: that gives me an ideabrv: no you checked the fuse alreadyspeedz: yea. we really do need that backing away slowly picture or gifV: you know that male ducks don't quackwbp: you're a quackLOST

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It's choose your own response day!!1) So, does your mother have the internet?2) When I saw "To My Mother On Her 56th Birthday" by Shimmering Wang I thought... "Ok this should be good"3) D... awesome. From a son who is just like his mother, but nothing like you and your mother... that was nice.4) Wamp Wamp

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I always have found it odd when people address their Mom as "Mother". Not sure why but it soundsway to formal and pretentious I guess.So did you send that letter to her or just post in off topic because it's the thought that counts?

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