First Person Singular in Praise of Mothers

First Person Singular in Praise of Mothers

Tonight, I decided to try my hand at writing using the first-person singular. The I. The almighty me, the pronoun referring to the man who stares at his self-absorbed image in the bathroom mirror. I am fearful of that pronoun. Whenever I use it, more than once a memory slithers out of my repressed past life and insinuates itself into my conscious mind. But when I look at something of beauty, the fear associated with the ninth letter of the English alphabet undergoes a transformation. The ‘I’ no longer threatens me.

An example:

A few weeks ago I was waiting for a friend outside a Starbucks in Yokohama’s Bashamichi district. When I arrived at the meeting place, I was attracted by the sight of the statue. My friend phoned he would be a few minutes late, so I took out my camera and took several shots from different angles.

Mother Watching Over Child
The Joys of Motherhood
Child Entranced by the World around Him.

As I waited for my friend, I was amazed at how the passers-by ignored the statue. They were locked in conversation, or perhaps they were lost in deep thought. About what? A marital problem, or simply wondering what to eat for lunch.

At home later that same night, I examined the photos. A wave of memories swept over me. I remember my mother telling me she never expected me, but she was glad I came along. Ah, my poor mother. Married to an abusive man who from time to time battered her. I feared my step-father, and I blamed my mother for divorcing my father and marrying a man with a violent temper. Oh, mother, how I wished my childhood had been happier and less stressful.

All through my childhood and adolescence, she listened to my complaints and accusations in painful silence.  Then when I was ready to leave home for good, she told me she loved me and she tried her best. Then she said, “Someday you’ll have children of your own and you will understand.”

Mothers! We love them. We hate them. We thank them for the good things we enjoy. We blame them for the failings we experience in our adult lives. Yes, I fell into that pattern of accusing my mother of exacerbating the inadequacies in my adult life. Then, for reasons I won’t go into, I became a single parent. And the words of my mother came crashing into me. “Someday you’ll have children of your own and you will understand.”

I understand now. My children accused me of many faults, some of them are the same ones I leveled at my mother.

Funny how a statue exhibited on a busy sidewalk can resurrect memories and suppressed feelings.  I wonder about that little child in the arms of his mother. What kind of family environment will he grow up in?

As you can read, the beauty of the statue had taken the sting out of reflecting in the first-person singular.

(To be continued)

For another side of me take a look at



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