Feels like I’ve been on some kind of reconciliation trip. Not that I believe I will ever be able to absolve my mother (or, father, for that matter) from their shitty parenting. But at least I’ve now found a few more missing pieces to my giant family puzzle by visiting childhood places where she must have experienced happiness. This seems to help me offset the fact that I can only remember her expressing anger, sadness, and pessimism.
Of course, I knew there had to have been many, many times throughout my mother’s earliest years when she was joyous, adventurous, and full of unbridled optimism. But now I’ve also seen (and documented) places where I’m certain she played, laughed, and had fun.
I am leaving now, standing on the very same platform my mother stood in the mid-1940s, waiting for a southbound train. An adventure was about to begin. And though it certainly didn’t end well for her, the journey, the adventure, and the courage needed to leave the security and familiarity of small-town life must have been thrilling.
Our society judges, measures, and defines success through the narrow lens of fame and fortune. But for all her shortcomings as a parent, I can’t help but admire my mother for at least trying to follow her rainbow and fulfill her dreams.