To All the Moms I’ve Loved Before

thumb_P1100053_1024First was the mother who cradled me, belly then arms; the one who checked for breath in the middle of the night and stayed up until dawn slaying fevers, the one who documented first teeth and words, who started a living record in her memory. The mother who held out her arms to catch my first tentative steps.


The childhood mother who encouraged her shy seven-year-old to go out and make friends, a clutch of birthday party invitations in hand, the one who had a secret word with the teacher to make sure her daughter wasn’t friendless on her first day at a new school, the one who sat outside ballet classes and applauded a hundred thousand handstands in the pool, quick with a kiss and a band-aid (an occasional I told you so) whenever I fell.

20160508_100015There was the mother who hung further back while I dove in and started the long, hard swim upstream toward adolescence,the one who took a backseat while friendships got more intense, when independence took the form of kissing boys under porches and coming home when the street lights blinked on, still ready to catch me, but from a little further away.

There’s the mother of the teenager, who saw past the aqua-net and the eyeliner, who bit her 20160508_100031tongue over the outlandish, the one who let me cry when a best friend broke my heart, when a boy broke my spirit, when I was still wiggly with who I was, giraffe legs wobbly on the ground. That mother didn’t argue when I petulantly insisted that who I was was the same as who I would be (and refrained from I told you so), the one who let me choose my own road less taken, even though that road led me away from her.

There was the mother during my first few years away from home, tripping and faltering into young adulthood in New York City, a voice at the end of the phone line, the one who let me think I didn’t need her to catch me if  I stumbled and bruised my soul.

IMG_3261The mother at the end of the very same phone line when I got sucked feet first into a black hole I couldn’t see a way out of, the one who got into her car in the middle of a weekday night to shine a light for me to follow out; because of course she was close enough to catch me, no matter how far away she was.

There was the mother who bit her tongue through boyfriends who weren’t right, men who didn’t break my heart as much as they broke the person I thought I was, the one who let me figure out how glue the pieces back together to make a different, stronger version of myself.1378644_10151967016719066_787144188_n

There was the mother who took the last boyfriend aside and thanked him for bringing a smile back to her daughter’s life, the one who thanked him again at our wedding a few years later.

20160508_100001There was the mother who cried with me all those months when my own hopes of motherhood got flushed away like so much waste, the who patiently tried to understand all the needles and the blood tests, the new-fangled methods, the one who cried with me when those new-fangled methods didn’t work. And then cried harder when they did.

There was the mother who stood back looking on while I took more shaky first steps, this time down the road of motherhood myself, who resisted giving advice or an I told you so, who let me find my own footing, who watched me gain my balance and climb higher than I thought I could.thumb_IMG_7725_1024

There is the mother to my adult, the one who shares a bottle of wine and stories, the one who can tell me, now that I am old enough and experienced enough to understand, about all the times she stood behind me, ready to catch me if I fell, even when I didn’t know she was there.

thumb_IMG_0146_1024Time keeps marching and dragging us both with it. Eventually it will be she who is taking steps which are shaky, slightly wobbly on her feet.

And I’ll be behind her, ready to catch her if she falls.

20 thoughts on “To All the Moms I’ve Loved Before

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    1. Thank you. I’m glad you still talk to your mother, I still talk to my father sometimes, not just so he knows he’s still with me, but so that I know he’s still with me. I bet the same is true for your Mom.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol. Multiple personality disorder mom. I’ve been thinking about how my own ‘mothering’ has/is changing as my boys grow up (some for the better, some for the worse) and it made me think about it from the other perspective. Happy Mother’s Day to you!


  1. I love this mother too! Some of those time she didn’t tell you ‘I told you so’, she was whispering it to me. What a beautiful way to share these amazing memories!


  2. Dang. You’re good. Which is why I follow you, and your writing. No, not stalking. Following. OK. So maybe following is just respectful stalking. Back to the subject at hand – motherhood.

    As a guy (with credentials to being son, grandson, husband, father, grandfather, brother-in-law, cousin, nephew, etc.), I truly appreciate the uniqueness of motherhood, which is quite different from fatherhood. Mothers never seem to give up the mother role, even with adult children. My 93-year old mother still fusses over me (and my wife who she treats as her long longed-for daughter) and gives us care packages to take home whenever we visit, My wife still waits up at night waiting for the phone call from one of our adult daughters who went out late at night (working or fun, doesn’t matter – she wants to know they are safely home), even when they are across the continent and three time-zones away. When the phone rings at three in the morning, it’s not an interruption of sleep – it’s an affirmation that goodness triumphed over (possible) evil, and we can catch our 40 (now 20) winks.

    Motherhood. Because if it wasn’t for Mother, none of us would be here.


    1. Thank you. It’s true. It is a unique relationship–not that fatherhood is not and it has its own unique benefits, but you are right. You are a mother for life, it never ends. Maybe you’re not chasing your toddler around the playground with a hot dog (true story), but there is always a worry somewhere there that everything is alright. As for the stalking–well, is it wrong if I’m flattered? ;-).

      Liked by 1 person

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