When I came home from elementary school, the sight was familiar; my mother watching soap operas. Remote in one hand, glass of wine in the other. Her tiny frame sprawled across the couch, eyes fixed toward the sky as if searching for something greater. She often slept on that couch. I thought this was the image of all mothers. I thought the cheaply boxed wine was a fixture of all refrigerators.
She later admitted to drinking because she was bored. As I matured, I learned her boredom translated to unhappiness. Her exasperation of life is etched in the lines of her face. They are deep and masked by make-up to uphold a happy face. I dislike make-up. The bags under her eyes emphasize the late hours she spends gambling, or working, or whatever the latest addiction, searching for fulfillment. Even I, at 5'3" feel like a giant next to her dwarfed size, and I doubt her body can handle the stress she places upon it. I’ve noticed the alcohol in her the slight twitches of her spine and movements. With all her burdens, she is still the most powerful woman I know. Her voice may grate on the irritating side, but it is weighted with capability. She always completes her obligations.
I look around her bedroom, and notice an offhand note I wrote her once, boldly saying, “I love you, Mom”. They are words I speak far too seldom. It is wedged in the frame of her mirror, a daily reminder. I stare it down and all I can think is: “am I making you happy?”