There I was, sitting across the tacky table at Ihop from my mother, suddenly noticing how much things have changed. She gave me a sneaking glance as she stole my last piece of bacon, and I let out a smile. I don’t remember when we began eating there, or who proposed the idea first. Breakfast was her favorite meal and I guess she just dragged me along. I was always okay with it; she paid.
It was always just me and her, something that did not happen very often. What was even odder was that I relished these Sunday breakfasts before I jetted off to work. I liked the alone time with my mom. With her I didn’t have to talk about school and responsibilities. She didn’t put any pressure on me like my dad often did. I got to tell her was I was actually thinking. It was new, this relationship with her.
I remember rather clearly two years ago in gym telling my friends all about the whole sob story divorce. I do remember- and I’m not ashamed of it- telling them how I thought she was a bad mom.
In retrospect she was a flawed mother. After the divorce it was like a switch flipped off in her and everything before that was just some large charade. She partied, dated men with long beards and no jobs, smoked cigarettes; just things that she had never, ever done before. I grew sick of it, fighting with her and eventually moving out of her house. As the months went by I saw her mere days out of the month, and I grew to hate her. In my mind by sophomore year, she was just someone to be tolerated.
As the waitress lays down the bill my mom smiled at me. “Do you need money for lunch? I could swing by and drop something off?” I shook my head no. She scooted out of the booth, walking toward the cashier. It was then I heard my dad’s voice, hitting me for no reason whatsoever.
“You just have to accept people for who they are. They’re not going to change and if you want them in your life you’re going to have to deal with it.” he said it to me when I was being particularly nasty about my mom sophomore year. I had just told him that I did not think I would ever be able to get past what she had done to the family. I didn't understand it at first, but know i think i have a firm grasp of the concept. It was about understanding people and accepting that they’re not always going to live up to what they’re supposed to. I had expectations for my mom that she had shattered again and again. I just could not understand how she could leave her kids like that. I felt unloved back then. And there was my dad asking me to accept her for who she was.
It sounded like such an odd thing to say at the moment, and it was certainly what I did not want to hear, but as my mom walked back to the booth I was glad I took the advice to heart. By no means is she the best mom. She is selfish and often puts her needs before ours. I’ve come to accept that about her though. I understand that she loves us even if she has a childish way of showing it. I can accept that about her and somehow, I no longer feel I have to hate her. She rarely ever falls short of my expectations anymore. I don’t know if I would have found a new friend in my mom if I had not listened to him.
What I do know is that breakfast on Sunday is probably one of the best ways to start off the week.