One Word

When I started this blog, I promised myself that every time I wrote, I would be painfully honest with my readers and with myself. That even though I am an editor for a living, I would present the unedited version of my life.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I write this to force myself to stop and think about it. It’s on my mind, whether I like it or not. So here goes.

As realistic as I have become about my daughter’s non-verbalism in recent years, there are still days when I stand in front of her and say the word Mom over and over again, hoping she will say it back.

Such a powerful word. Each time I hear it, it makes me think of the two things I have yearned for as long as I can remember. It’s the word I wish would spill out of Brielle’s mouth, and the one I can’t utter without aching since my own Mom died 29 years ago.

Twenty-nine years. That’s just crazy. How has so much time passed? When did I get so old?

In past years, when I was at my worst, I have refused to even acknowledge Mother’s Day. That always backfired, with me drinking too much or crying myself to sleep.

The day is always about missing my mom. When I was a teenager, it was a resent-the-world hurt. Now it’s a deep in-your-gut ache, a realization of all the memories I was unable to make with her.

The older I get, the more I appreciate her. Like me, she was a fiery blend of strong and sensitive. Like me, she got divorced from her kids’ father, worked full-time and raised two children on her own until she married a second time. Like me, she loved her son and her daughter with a passion.

Thankfully, I had Mom’s two sisters, my amazing aunts, who came to my rescue whenever I allowed them in. To this day, they are there. Though I don’t reach out too often for help, knowing I have them just in case makes everything easier.

I was a sad, lonely teenager who became a depressed, confused mom. Only recently, since I reached and surpassed the scary age of 42 — the age my mom was when she died — have I torn down my wall.

Oh, what a change! To live life appreciating what you have, instead of being bitter and hateful because of all that you don’t have.

When I turned 42, I wrote about that bittersweet birthday (https://briellesvoice.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/my-bittersweet-birthday/). That post was some intense therapy.

Since then, a calmness has come over me. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments — ask my saint of a husband, he will list them — but in general I feel like I have finally accepted my past and that has helped me to deal with my present.

God, I miss my mom. Unless you are a motherless daughter, you cannot grasp what it is like to be one. It’s like traveling a foreign land without a guide or a map as you keep encountering ditches and detours and forks in the roads. Every turn is scary.

When the big moments come, the Mom I am and the Mom I miss collide. Every milestone, every tragedy, reminds me of what I had and what I don’t have and what I have to face without her.

I am trying to appreciate what I have and not dwell on what I don’t.

I’ve tried to live that way when it comes to Brielle. When you have a special needs child, you learn to celebrate every single achievement. Every dry night without a super-early wakeup. Every trip to the supermarket without a tantrum. Every sound. Every hug. Every smile. Every day.

But oh, does it hurt when I hear toddlers in the store calling for their Moms. Why can’t my Brielle? Why does something that’s so simple for others have to be so difficult for her? I would give anything to know.

I used to hope for sentences. Now it’s just that one goddamn word. I have earned it, goddamnit.

I’ll keep trying. Whenever she’s having a really alert day, when she seems to be staring into my eyes more than usual and making more sounds, I reach for her and make sure she is giving me all her attention. I get in her face and repeat the word over and over again, opening my mouth slowly and encouraging her to do the same. Mom. Mom. Mom.

You never know. Featured Image -- 41

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3 thoughts on “One Word

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  1. You are a very strong person, it is said God will not put more on us than we can handle. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I have a friend with a special needs daughter and she has been through hell. Your amazing…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, You are one Amazing mom, I hope & pray one day your wish will come true for you. Her words are silent. Her eyes speak volume when she looks at you. So proud to have met you. I know you will never give up. You inspire so many. xx Happy Happy Mothers day. xx ❤

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