My Mother never really approved of me. I’m not complaining about it. Just stating it for something to write about.
I think that’s why I was drawn towards putting my art and writing out there in the public prints. It was a way to try and win the approval of an audience, and win the approval of the world, in an attempt to compensate for the lack of Mother approval. And also as a way to learn to accept disapproval — because you will get plenty of that from your critics.
In all these years I can’t remember my Mother ever once complimenting me on my art or my writing — or anything else I may have accomplished. She simply wasn’t interested. In fact I can’t remember her ever asking me ANYTHING about my life. For example she never once asked me what it was like to be homeless and part of the street scene. Or what my life in Berkeley in general was like.
Growing up as a kid I never had much of a relationship with her either. Her persona was that of a joyless maid — she fed me and did my laundry out of a sense of dreary duty. (To be fair, however, she always made sure I got three meals a day and my shoes never had holes in them).
For most of my adult life I had no relationship or contact with my Mother. Mostly because of the strong animosity I felt towards her (I blamed her for all my problems and failings — which admittedly was pretty immature of me, at some point you just have to accept that you’re the only one that’s responsible for your life).
In the last decade I did develop some kind of relationship with my Mother. In 2014 I spent a year living in this little town just a mile away from where my Mother lived (I had mostly moved there to be with my sister who also lived there). And occasionally we would go out for coffee or lunch. And it was good for me because I got some sense of closure (to use that cliche). We mostly just made small talk. And there was no love between us. But at least there was no hatred. So that counted for something.
When I finally decided to pack up and move back to Berkeley, I didn’t realize until I was on the Greyhound bus that I had forgotten to say good-bye to my Mother. Our relationship was so inconsequential I guess there really wasn’t any point to having some big good-bye scene.
That was pretty much my last interaction with my Mother.