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