What Motherhood Has Taught Me

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My loves, my sillies, a long time ago. Or was it yesterday?

As another Mother’s Day nears and my kids grow another year closer to adulthood, I am thinking back on it all. The tattered hard copy of Goodnight Moon recited by heart. Bath/book/bed routines. Play groups. Walking through the grocery store when they were littles and feeling SO proud of myself for getting a shower in and dressing up in something other than sweat pants, the kids well behaved in the cart and I thought – yeah, I’m on it! I got it all together today! Go me!

And then in the checkout lane, the woman behind me whispered, “Excuse me, but did you know that you have a lollipop stuck on the back of your skirt?”

Motherhoood is a sticky business.
When I first announced to the world that I was pregnant, there is one phrase I heard most often: “Your life is going to change!” This was usually followed by knowing smiles or laughter. I remember saying, “Yeah, I know.”

I didn’t know shit.

Seventeen years and two kids later, I get it. I’m going to try to capture just how life-changing motherhood has been for me and a few of the lessons I’ve been humbled to learn in no particular order. For mother’s day. For moms everywhere who show up every day fighting the good fight.   Continue reading “What Motherhood Has Taught Me”

Goodbye Macaroni: A Different Spin on Mother’s Day

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July 2013 in Chinatown, Chicago IL on a water taxi just hanging out. Crappy lighting but I love this picture. My kids still talk about this day. No special occasion. Just a regular day in the life. I love this memory. I love their smiles most of all.

Mother’s Day has always been a conflicting one for me. I wish so many things had been different between my mom and me, but she died when I was 25, so I never got to see what might have been. My birth mom and I don’t speak anymore – my choice – another story and another layer of complexity. I myself am a mom to two teens, so I am smack dab in the middle of the “child to adult” transition phase x 2. And I’m friends with lots of moms and non-moms who all have different perspectives, opinions, kids, situations, etc.

In other words, I’m a regular mom with all the regular baggage. 🙂

Then comes Mother’s Day, with the commercial pressure to make the day “special.” I hate that. This brings all sorts of expectations that can’t possibly be met. Well, maybe. Sometimes. Sometimes you end up happy but a little sad for what used to be. What could be. What never will be – ever or again. I am learning to live with this ambiguity. That’s why this year I have a new goal. Continue reading “Goodbye Macaroni: A Different Spin on Mother’s Day”

Missing Mom on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a great thing if you are a mom or if you have a mom. But if your mom is not in your life for any reason, Mother’s Day can be…tough. As Mother’s Day approaches, I think of my adoptive mother, who raised me until she died from pancreatic cancer when I was 24 and she was only 62. I’ve officially witnessed 20 Mother’s Days without her. I don’t remember the sound of her voice anymore. I don’t remember what perfume she wore or what she wanted to be when she grew up.

But I remember that she made me baths when I was sick or felt sad. I remember she never owned a pair of jeans and wore a size 8 wide shoe. I remember that she always told me I could go to college – when no one else in our family, including her, ever did. I remember that she made maroon and white pom-poms for my cheerleading team to put on our shoes for competitions in grade school. I remember that she was the kind of person who lit candles for special events and believed that homemade chicken noodle soup could cure anything. I remember that she wanted me to be a flight attendant and get married and have ‘something to fall back on’ in case the whole marriage thing (which I couldn’t do soon enough) didn’t work out. I remember that she was sad a lot. And I wanted so badly to make her happy. I tried all the time. And then she died.

my babies
my babies

She never got to live the life she really wanted – I’m not sure she really knew what that was until it was too late. She never met my children. She never saw me finish graduate school. She never got to know me when I got my head out of my butt and stopped being a stupid teenager. But I think of her every day and try to make my life count twice – once for me, and once for her. I owe her that.

I also think of my birth mom, who I was lucky enough to meet and get to know for two years. I wish her life had been easier. I wish her life had been better because she gave me up for adoption, which was a great choice since I am here to write this blog. 🙂 But she struggled, too. I think of both of my mothers’ struggles,their lives, their hopes and dreams – and I feel very lucky to be here. My birth mom shared with me that she considered aborting me, among other options. But here I am today – a mom myself to a 13-year-old boy and a 11-year-old girl. I feel grateful to be here every day. I can’t tell you enough what a gift it is to be alive. But you’re here – you’re reading this. You know. Right?!

And I will tell you a secret, too: I was terrified to be a mother.

Continue reading “Missing Mom on Mother’s Day”