No, that’s not me cursing like a thirteen-year old boy whose friends stole his underwear. I’m referring to men and their relationships with their mothers, and how that relationship is usually a good indicator of how the guy will treat you in a relationship.
But more so, it’s a good indicator of how he will treat you when you’re out of the relationship; climbing out of a messy divorce. Is he the type to screw you over, to lie and scream and be dramatic, the way his mother typically behaves when things don’t go her way? Or, will he be calm and calculated, the way his own mother is in her business dealings?
The bigger question is, once you are no longer the woman in his life, do a son’s loyalties revert back to his mother? In other words, does a son inevitably migrate back to where he came from, his mother’s bush?
A former co-worker of mine whom I stay in touch with over iChat is divorced. Compared to some horror stories, her divorce proceedings went relatively smoothly. Both she and her ex moved on, but they never finalized how to split their possessions in writing, until recently. His mother is a well-known sculptor whose work consists of crafted bronze chandeliers and centerpieces resembling nature, and some of those pieces remain in their house, where my friend still resides. Perhaps because they are each in serious relationships now, they are prepared to finally reconcile. My friend’s ex emailed her the details. Rather than remitting the balance of what she allegedly owes him on their house, he asked she return the art that belongs to his mother, especially a piece that is dearest to him: “The Bush.”
His email specified that his mother’s studio will make arrangements for the bush, and that they will come to the house to pack and ship the bush back to him, where it belongs.
Of all the valuable items he could have asked for, like money, the guy wants his mother’s bush back. My friend, worked up over other bits of miscommunication, failed to see the comedic goldmine that this opportunity presented, begging to be acknowledged.
That’s what I’m here for! Since I’m on my friend’s side, I felt justified suggesting she write back any one of the following comments:
“I didn’t know your mom needed a team to manage her bush.”
“I don’t want your mom’s bush anyway, I have my own.”
“Your mom’s bush is certainly a work of art.”
“How do you know whether her bush is still worth anything? Why don’t you see how much you can sell it for on e-bay?”
“How is your new wife going to feel, when you bring your mother’s bush home? Are you going to ask her to love it the way you do?”
“Don’t worry, your mother’s bush is fine. No one’s touched it in years.”
“Was all of this your mom’s idea? Was she mad you gave her bush away to begin with, and now she wants to see if her son can be a man by getting her bush back?”
I think there is some truth to the last one. It’s very possible that his mother, who is apparently quite composed and calculating (and naturally on her son’s side), said, “You did what? You gave her what? That’s my bush!”
I don’t have brothers, so I have not been privy to the mother/son relationship up close, but I suspect that it’s not that different from father/daughter in terms of the need to convey that we are smart, in control, and practical. The desire to “make good” on our actions, and show our parents that we’ve learned to be wise by modeling after them, can trump everything else. The guy wants to prove to his mother that he’s on top of things, including her precious bush.
Not to mention that my friend feels accused of holding her ex-mother’s bush captive. I tried to comfort her by saying that perhaps this trade is a significant marker, signaling the final stage of the marriage, once and for all. For us gals, mother in-laws get tangled up in our relationships, even when we think that we’ve successfully kept them at bay; they hover in the psycho-sphere that the marriage inhabits. My ex-mother in law was a talented artist too, and she gave my ex-husband and I some pieces; contemporary paintings and sculptures. Thankfully, she did not gift us her bush. But she was domineering enough that her presence was felt regardless. I didn’t need to look at her bush to know she was there, pulling the strings on my husband’s behavior.
The bottom line is, a mother will never give up her bush to any woman that comes into her son’s life. It was foolish for my friend’s ex husband to think he could pilfer the bush without his mother knowing. It was foolish for him to stray that far from the bush at all.
I’m sure if his mother has anything to do with it, he’s now learned his lesson: Respect the bush from whence you’ve come.