I was so ready to leave home by 17 and see the world that I left skid marks.
I wanted to be free. I wanted to be on my own. I wanted, frankly, to devour an entire box of Trix in a single setting just because I could.
My mom, bless her in the afterlife, sent me off with a wave. She wanted me to have adventures.
I will remember her for this on Mother’s Day. But I also will remember my other mothers. As I moved from city to city, took different jobs and entered various stages of adulthood, they were there when my real mother couldn’t be.
My own mother had to field the hurts and heartache of four other kids — who always boomeranged back to her house after life kicked them in the teeth. She worked. She cared for a grandchild. She was busy. Distance from her and desperation made eager-to-cut-the-apron-strings me seek the advice and understanding that only mothers can give.
I love you no matter what
When I feared, maybe, just maybe, I had a drinking problem, it was CJ, a mother with addiction issues in her own family, who suggested I might check out an AA meeting. Just to see. When I stopped drinking for years and then started again before finally realizing I could never drink again, she didn’t say I told you so. She said I love you no matter what.
‘Trust your body’
When doctors said everything was fine and the tests all came back normal, it was Susan, a mother of two with her own health scares, who told me over a bowl of soup to “trust your body.” I drove to the emergency room the next day, insisted on more tests and was admitted to the hospital. I delivered a 3-pound, premature daughter two days later. She had to be delivered because I was suffering from severe preeclampsia.
Food is love
After I delivered my third daughter — again under precarious circumstances that meant I’d be home recovering for weeks — it was Karen, a mother of two, who organized meals to be delivered to my home. Twelve weeks later, I found myself puzzled over how to make burritos since I had grown to expect a hot dinner arriving at 5 p.m. every night on my doorstep. Even now, when I need a little comfort food, I think of Karen’s homemade chicken noodles.
They were there
Working mothers Marian, Debora, Susan K. and Mary Beth offered advice on career, marriage, child-raising or all three.
Some of these women are not quite old enough to be my mother. But they walked the path of adulthood and motherhood before me. They listened, they advised, they comforted.
Most of all, they were there. Thank you, thank you other mothers for supporting me on my adventures.