Doug Bruns

I don’t think I gave her the credit she was due.

In Family, Life, Memoir on May 13, 2012 at 8:00 am

I’m traveling. This is a repost. I hope you have a nice mother’s day.


It’s mother’s day and I regret not being a better son. I wasn’t a bad son, but something held me back from being a really good, home-run good, son to my mom. I can’t explain it any other way, other than I was reserved and didn’t give her everything she probably wanted from her only child.

I’ve been thinking about this since I found a journal entry from thirty years ago, when my mother was a couple of years younger than I am now. I made a note then of a conversation we, my mother and I, had. In a rare moment of candor between mother and son she told me that, sadly, life had passed her by and that she regretted letting it happen. But she had no idea how she would have lived in any other manner or what to do about it going forward. I don’t recall the conversation, which bothers me. I just have the record of it, and that is part of the problem. Why don’t I remember such a confession?

I think I should remember a loved one being so upset and forthcoming. But I don’t. She didn’t do it often, open up like that–too much mid-western stoicism in her veins. I think she was asking something of me and I’m not sure what precisely. Nor did I try to find out. I suspect I was comforting, but I can’t be sure. I let her revelation slip away, receding behind us, and neither of us ever brought it up again. That was that.

I don’t think I gave her the credit she was due, all the attention she likely thirsted after. I don’t know exactly that to be the case, but I suspect it. I fear she wanted more and in telling me of her disappointments she thought I might somehow help. But I had a family to raise and distractions and it was my shortcoming to do nothing.

I fear wrestling with my shortcomings too late in life to do anything about them. But more, I fear missing another opportunity to be present when my presence is needed by someone I care about. It is said we cannot escape the sins of our fathers. Perhaps, conversely, we inherit the lessons of our mothers.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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